17th July 2020

A Northumbria Police officer who had sex with two domestic abuse victims would have been sacked if he had not already retired a review has confirmed.

PC Malcolm Bennett formerly of Northumbria Police had commenced a 12-month relationship with one woman in 2016 and began a further liaison in 2017. The former officer was found to have visited the women whilst on uniformed duty having driven to their homes in a police vehicle. He had also unlawfully accessed police computer systems for information about two other vulnerable women to whom he then sent text messages of a sexual nature.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigated the former officer’s actions with an independently chaired Northumbria Police panel. It was concluded that the officer had breached standards of honesty, integrity and confidentiality as well as engaging in discreditable conduct. Five allegations of gross misconduct were found to be proved.

Furthermore in 2019, at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, the former officer pleaded guilty to offences under the Data Protection Act.

Following the misconduct hearing, the IOPC’s regional director, said officers:

“who abuse their position of trust and power by seeking and engaging in improper sexual relationships have no place in policing”.

Meanwhile Northumbria Police’s head of professional standards, Superintendent Steve Ammari, described the former officer’s actions as “completely unacceptable”.

Blog by Andrew Freckleton, Partner