A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who financially exploited a vulnerable woman while working for Merseyside Police has been dismissed without notice following a misconduct hearing.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) directed an investigation, carried out by Merseyside Police, after concerns were raised.
Merseyside investigators found evidence of frequent visits by the PCSO to the building where the woman lived. CCTV showed him visiting her in hospital when he had no policing purpose for doing so.
Evidence gathered showed the PCSO had accrued significant gambling debts and had been given money by the woman on more than one occasion.
He was interviewed under criminal caution by Merseyside investigators and admitted he had regular contact with the woman but denied accepting any gifts from her.
He also admitted to having a gambling problem in the past, although denied being heavily in debt.
On conclusion of the investigation in October 2022, the IOPC determined the PCSO had a case to answer for gross misconduct for potential breaches of the police staff standards of professional behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct, and orders and instructions.
Merseyside Police arranged a misconduct hearing for the PCSO, which was held on Tuesday 4 July. This took place in private, as is required for police staff. The case against him was found proven and he was dismissed without notice.
IOPC Director of Major Investigations Steve Noonan said, “The PCSO’s behaviour was entirely inappropriate and has no place in policing. He would have been well aware of the woman’s vulnerability and yet chose to exploit this for his own gain.
“While much of their contact was while he was off duty, his actions show a complete disrespect for the standards expected of someone in his position.
“It is thanks to the actions of a colleague who challenged and reported this behaviour that he has now been held accountable, and officers were able to prevent the woman from further exploitation. The work of Merseyside Police, with independent oversight from the IOPC, has ensured he will now be barred from working for the police in future.”
The PCSO, who the IOPC are not naming due to the fact the hearing was held in private, will now be added to the College of Policing’s Barred List.
On conclusion of the investigation, the IOPC found there was insufficient evidence to support a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Image: Merseyside Police HQ. Credit: GOOGLE