Retired Northumbria Police officer's misconduct hearing told of sexual relationships with 'vulnerable victims of crime'

A former Northumbria Police officer visited women he was having sexual relationships with while on duty after he met them as victims of crime.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 8:20 am
Updated Thursday, 16th July 2020, 8:20 am

An inquiry by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found ex-Pc Malcolm Bennett had intimate relationships with two vulnerable women while he was supposed to be on the beat.

Gross misconduct for five allegations against him, including sexual activity on duty and unlawfully accessing police computer systems for information, have now been found proven at a disciplinary hearing held by the force on Monday, July 13.

It found the former neighbourhood policing officer had breached standards of honesty and integrity, confidentiality, and discreditable conduct.

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Northumbria Police's headquaters is based in Middle Engine Lane in Wallsend.

The IOPC probe, completed in August 2018, found the officer started a sexual relationship in April 2017 with a victim.

He was also involved in a sexual relationship between September 2016 and September 2017 with another vulnerable woman he met through work.

The officer went to the homes of the women - victims of domestic abuse – in a police vehicle while on duty.

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The officer also accessed police computer systems for no legitimate policing purpose to gain information about two other vulnerable women to whom he sent texts of a sexual nature.

Bennett admitted offences under the Data Protection Act for these matters at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last August.

He has been placed on the College of Policing barred list, preventing him from re-entering the police service or joining other policing bodies.

Superintendent Steve Ammari, head of Professional Standards at Northumbria Police, said the force expected officers and staff to maintain the highest standards at all times and takes appropriate action against those who do not.

He said the case was referred to the IOPC after concerns were raised about the behaviour of the Wallsend-based officer, who was then suspended from duty.

He added: “Malcolm Bennett abused his privileged position for his own selfish gains and his behaviour was completely unacceptable.

“We want to reassure the public that the actions of this individual are in no way representative of the officers and staff who every single day display the highest levels of professionalism and commitment to the communities we are proud to serve.”

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