Professional Discipline & Regulatory
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Police officer to appeal dismissal following gross misconduct finding as a result of his children being taken into care. Sarah Simcock represents the police force.
experience & expertise
Sarah’s police practice involves a significant amount of disciplinary work. Sarah regularly acts in police gross misconduct proceedings. These cases often concern the most serious conduct involving allegations of dishonesty, sexual impropriety, neglect of duty, discreditable conduct, breach of confidentiality or data protection and computer misuse. Sarah is experienced at dealing with the type of legal issues which arise in these cases including in relation to abuse of process, Art 8 rights to privacy, disclosure obligations and issues of public interest immunity. Sarah also has considerable experience in advising on evidence and in drafting of charges in gross misconduct cases. She also advises and acts for the IPCC. Prior to the introduction of legally qualified chairs Sarah often acted as legal advisor to the panel.
Sarah appears in the Police Appeals Tribunal and is representing a police force on an officer’s appeal from a gross misconduct finding as a result of his children being taken into care as a result of his physical mistreatment of them having successfully obtained his dismissal at the initial hearing.
cases & work of note
- PC Matthew Duffy (2017)
Representing Bedfordshire Police in gross misconduct proceedings involving allegations of discreditable conduct against the officer. Police officers were called to attend PC Duffy’s home as a result of a 999 call from his partner. On their attendance he was drunk and when asked to leave his property to prevent a breach of the peace he became obstructive and refused. He was therefore arrested. The Panel found that he had breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct and that he was guilty of gross misconduct. PC Duffy put forward mitigation and argued he should not be dismissed. The Panel decided to dismiss PC Duffy without notice.
- PC Burgess (2017)
Representing Hampshire Police in a Police Appeal Tribunal hearing where the officer appealed against a finding of gross misconduct for a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to (1) sex whilst on duty in police uniform, (2) carrying out a sexual act at a police station in police uniform but off duty and (3) racist abuse of a member of the public. The officer claimed that the findings were unreasonable and also that proceedings should not have gone ahead whilst his criminal trial in relation to different allegations involving sexual misconduct in relation to members of the public was outstanding as the misconduct findings were prejudicial. The Panel acceded to an adjournment application by the officer pending his Crown Court trial when the PAT hearing would then proceed.
- PC VM (2017)
Having successfully presented on behalf of the British Transport Police in gross misconduct proceedings arising out of allegations of discredit brought upon the force by the officer’s children having been taken permanently into care due to his physical mistreatment of them, the officer appealed his dismissal to the Police Appeals Tribunal. Drafted written response and advised police force on appeal. Sarah was unavailable for final hearing but the force was successful in defending the appeal. Novel and interesting legal argument arose concerning the correct interpretation of “behaviour” under the regulations where the force relied upon the care orders made by the family court as the conduct bringing discredit upon the force. The question is whether a civil order alone is capable of amounting to gross misconduct. There is no authority on the point and the case therefore represents a precedent in this regard.
- PS SD (2017)
Advising and drafting charges in gross misconduct proceedings in which it is alleged that the officer breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to Authority, Respect and Courtesy by sending an inappropriate email to a colleague and also by following her in an unmarked police vehicle whilst she was driving her own vehicle which behaviour which she found to be intimidating, the context being she had made complaints about him as her Sergeant. This case involved complicated matters of disclosure and presentation of the case as the original allegations made were much wider and the investigation therefore considered matters which were not ultimately proceeded with. There was a difficult balancing exercise of ensuring the evidence was presented without undue prejudice but so as to properly evidence the Appropriate Authority’s case.
- PC Field (2016)
Junior counsel (led by Sarah Clarke) representing Thames Valley Police in gross misconduct proceedings involving allegations of the officer dishonestly misrepresenting his back injury to the force and remaining off sick when he was in fact fit for work
- PC X (2016)
Successfully presenting on behalf of the British Transport Police in gross misconduct proceedings arising out of allegations of discredit brought upon the force by the officer’s children having been taken permanently into care due to his physical mistreatment of them
- Sidwell v Police Medical Appeal Board (2015)
Representing Derbyshire Constabulary in judicial review of decision of PMAB that the officer was not permanently disabled within the meaning of the Police Pensions Regulations having acted as legal advisor to the Panel under the previous proceedings under the unsatisfactory performance and attendance Regulations.
- DS Blackbrow (2014)
Representing the IPCC in gross misconduct proceedings in relation to officer failing to investigate a rape allegation and failing to review the log detailing the allegation
- PC Davies (2014)
Successfully presenting gross misconduct proceedings for Thames Valley Police in relation to inappropriate sexual relationship with a domestic violence victim
- Insp Davies and PC Swales (2014)
Successfully presenting gross misconduct proceedings for Dyfed Powys Police in relation to sexual acts carried out on duty between two police officers
- Former Police Constable Hardy (2013)
Successfully acted for Metropolitan Police Commissioner in Police Appeals Tribunal relating to disciplinary findings of sexual misconduct with colleagues