Gwent Police officer 'sex on duty' disciplinary process criticised

PC Shaun Jenkins
Image caption PC Shaun Jenkins was reinstated when he appealed against his dismissal

Gwent Police has been criticised for the "unacceptable" way it dealt with a complaint about an armed officer who had sex on duty.

PC Shaun Jenkins was carrying a gun when he met the married woman in a Caerphilly house in 2010.

The woman's husband complained when the force decided it was not a dismissible offence.

The police watchdog said Gwent acted too hastily and failed to disclose he was on duty in its original report.

Officials say PC Jenkins gave the un-named woman a lift in the force's armed response vehicle before going to a nearby house where they had consensual sex - with his gun apparently "around his ankles" during the act.

While this was happening, a police colleague waited outside in a patrol vehicle for 40 minutes.

The matter came to light six months later when the woman's husband made a complaint about the officer's conduct, having learned of his wife's infidelity.

Gwent Police initially decided their officer's conduct was not a sackable offence.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said a report sent to both the husband and the police watchdog "failed to mention" that PC Jenkins and his colleague were on duty and armed at the time.

Neither were told that he was in possession of a firearm which was in a holster in his trousers, following redactions to the force's original report.

PC Jenkins was dismissed from his job after an appeal by the IPCC although he was reinstated following another appeal.

Speaking after publication of a report into the case management, IPCC Commissioner for Wales Tom Davies said: "Any officer having sex on duty is unacceptable behaviour that falls well below what is expected of all police officers.

"Those who carry firearms are rightly subject to the highest standards of training, procedures and discipline.

"The manner in which this complaint was originally handled by Gwent Police is unacceptable and their attempts to 'fast-track' the complaint and deal with it outside the formal regulations are not good enough."

Mr Davies said while accepting the reinstatement of the officer by an independent police appeals panel, he was surprised by some of its findings.

"The finding of the police appeals panel that the gun was never out of PC Jenkins' direct and immediate control because it was in a holster, attached to his trousers, which were attached to him, albeit around his ankles, is surprising.

Image caption The IPCC's Tom Davies is standing down after 10 years

"I am also bemused by the panel's conclusion that his conduct did not significantly downgrade the protection to the public because there was nothing to suggest he could not have been back in the police vehicle within a minute or two.

"These findings can only undermine public confidence in the credibility of the police discipline system."

The IPCC said the force breached the rights of the complainant - the husband - by finalising the disciplinary process and giving PC Jenkins a final written warning before the husband could exercise his right of appeal to the IPCC.

A Gwent Police statement said: "Gwent Police notes and fully accepts the findings of the IPCC report which was critical of the force's handling of a complaint against a serving officer.

"Our complaints handling processes have been reviewed and improved as part of our on-going efforts to ensure we provide the best possible service to the public."

The IPCC said the force's head of professional standards was disciplined and removed from his role for the way the case was dealt with.

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