An accelerated misconduct hearing was held on Friday 4 November in which a serving officer was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct and added to a national barred list, preventing him from working in policing or other law enforcement agencies again.
Before the hearing, Chief Constable Sarah Crew decided it should be held in public, for the reasons of openness and transparency. A misconduct notice was issued on the Avon and Somerset Police website, naming the officer as PC Kevin Curd.
When the hearing started, it became clear that details of the allegations would identify and adversely impact on vulnerable people not named in the original hearing notice, including juveniles, and the Chief Constable imposed a restricted reporting order as a proportionate response to prevent this from happening.
In a subsequent public statement giving details of the hearing outcome, the officer’s name was withheld, resulting in a media outlet challenging this decision.
The Chief Constable has listened to the concerns raised and has sought further legal advice. The advice has determined that while further details of the allegations cannot be released to protect the identity of third parties, this does not mean the officer had to be anonymised.
As a result of the private hearing on Friday 4 November, allegations of gross misconduct against PC Kevin Curd were proven and he was dismissed without notice.
The hearing was told that while off-duty, PC Curd had looked up details of two call logs on police systems in March of this year, without having a legitimate reason to do so. The contents of one of the call logs was then disclosed to a third party outside of the force without a policing purpose.
Rooting out officers who betray the professional standards expected of them is of paramount importance if we are to restore and uphold levels of public trust and confidence in policing. Holding hearings in public is a crucial part of this process.
The presumption is always that a misconduct hearing, or a special case or accelerated hearing, should be held in public, to ensure we’re as open as transparent as we can be, and there is clear accountability around the decisions made, either by a panel led by an independent Legally Qualified Chair, or in the case of an accelerated hearing, in front of a Chief Constable.