Sex pest police officer sacked after hounding colleague and lifting skirt

A police officer who held onto his job after lifting up a female colleague’s skirt during a night out has been sacked after the creep again sexually harassed a woman at work.

PC John Hetterley was hauled before a misconduct hearing after hounding a fellow officer for a sexual relationship, both in person and by text messages.

The three-day disciplinary panel convened earlier this month at Kent Police HQ in Maidstone heard how the woman made it clear in November 2018 she did not want a relationship with him.

Despite this, he continued to harass her – causing what a report of the behind-closed-doors hearing published by the force described as "distress of an unacceptable kind in her ordinary work environment".

Hetterley was previously brought before a misconduct hearing in 2016 after he inappropriately touched a female colleague, lifted up her skirt during a boozy night out and pinched her bottom.

A previous hearing heard a group of colleagues were having a meal at an Indian restaurant where PC Hetterley was "substantially under the influence of alcohol", having drunk around 10 pints of lager.

The group then moved on to a nightclub, where Hetterley pinched the bottom of a female co-worker. She swore at him, but he later lifted up her skirt, which she said humiliated her, the hearing heard.

Hetterley did not remember his behaviour because he was so intoxicated, but said he must have been "childishly trying to get the woman's attention".

They were said to be "close friends who were flirtatious", he claimed at the time, and was "given reason to believe a relationship might blossom", he told the hearing.

But the woman said his approaches were unwanted and the skirt-lifting left her angry, embarrassed and demeaned, although she did not want him to be prosecuted.

The 2016 panel found Hetterley's behaviour amounted to misconduct and gave the officer a final warning, which was to stay on his file for 18 months, but did not dismiss him.

However, the hearing earlier this month into his latest advances towards a fellow PC has now led to his dismissal from the force.

It found he had committed gross misconduct in "breaching of standards of professional behaviour relating to discreditable conduct and authority, as well as respect and courtesy".

The report said: "Police Constable Y [the victim] made it clear to PC Hetterley that she did not wish to pursue a sexual relationship with him. Despite this, PC Hetterley continued to harass PC Y for a sexual relationship, both in person and via electronic messaging.

"Many of the approaches towards the female colleague were made in the workplace. The actions of PC Hetterley caused PC Y distress of an unacceptable kind in her ordinary work environment."

As a result Hetterley has been fired without notice and will be placed on the Police Barred List, which prevents him from being employed in law enforcement in the future.

The short report of the findings of the hearing, which was held behind closed doors despite an appeal to allow the press in, did not mention Hetterley's previous disciplinary in 2016.

It is not clear if the latest incident relates to the same colleague as in 2016 or if Hetterley targeted two separate women. When asked to clarify Kent Police refused to answer.

Chief Superintendent Rachel Curtis of Kent Police's Professional Standards Department said following his dismissal: "Kent Police officers and staff are held to very high standards of professional conduct, and we do not hesitate to take action when someone's behaviour falls short of what is expected of them.

"Allegations of a sexual nature including the harassment of colleagues or members of the public are extremely rare but among the most serious we deal with.

"Misconduct proceedings are chaired by independent legal professionals who follow national legislation and guidance. "A number of sanctions are available to them in cases where misconduct has been proven, ranging from management advice to dismissal without notice.

"When deciding which sanction is appropriate, the chair will consider a number of factors including the individual's previous character, the seriousness of the case presented to them and whether or not they have previously breached the standards of professional behaviour."

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