Two police officers having an affair ignored callouts to engage in sexual activity in their squad car while on duty, a disciplinary panel has ruled.
Police Sergeant Molly Edwards and Police Constable Richard Paton, who are both married with children, ignored calls to attend a hospital following a serious assault and to attend a burglary at a shop on the same night.
The two Surrey Police officers, who quit the force before last month’s hearing, were found guilty of gross misconduct after their bosses bugged their vehicle, The Sun reported.
A misconduct hearing on 16 August found that Edwards, believed to be in her late 30s, and Paton, 39, had engaged in sexual activity between June 2019 and September 2019 while on duty in a police vehicle in a public space.
It also ruled that, while doing so on 29 September, 2019, they failed to attend and offer assistance to colleagues who were helping two victims who had been seriously assaulted.
That night, they also failed to attend and offer their assistance at a burglary.
The panel also found that both officers had misled their manager about their relationship, while Paton was also found to have used inappropriate language about a former Asian colleague, which Edwards failed to challenge or report.
It ruled that both officers would have been dismissed had they not resigned before the misconduct hearing.
The panel heard that Paton was heard saying, “Aww, let’s just get naked”, after a 4.51am radio request for assistance at a burglary at a Curry’s store in Woking.
The officers also ignored a call at 4.17am to attend Frimley Park Hospital to talk to two victims of a serious assault outside a nightclub.
“The panel is satisfied that the officers should have responded to the call given their location and would have done had they not been engaged in sexual activity,” said panel chair John Bassett.
“It is self-evident from the transcripts of what occurred after the call that the sexual activity continued.”
The panel said the officers’ sexual activity “clearly involved the removal of some of their clothing, kissing”, as well as the exposure of Edwards’s breasts and Paton pleasuring her.
The pair also made “verbal expressions of sexual fantasies”, the panel said.
Edwards and Paton denied having full sexual intercourse, and she said the sexual activity only took place over two days while their car was bugged.
In a statement, Edwards said: “We started to use 5am on night shifts when it was quiet as a time to offload.
“A relationship began from this time. It wasn’t always sexual in that sometimes it could be just holding hands.
“I enjoyed the time we had together, but I became aware that what we were doing was wrong and would say to him that we should put a stop to it.”
Mr Bassett said their actions were a “serious dereliction of duty… that would be considered as outrageous by reasonable and fair-minded members of the public”.
Both officers were found to have breached Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of discreditable conduct, honesty and integrity and duties and responsibilities.
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