A police officer has been fired for lying about witnessing a car spin 360 degrees on a busy road during his commute because he needed a cover story for being late for work.
PC Andrew Siggens, a Hartlepool-based Cleveland Police officer, repeatedly lied to superiors and maintained his story at a disciplinary hearing, bringing his force into disrepute, an independent panel found.
The officer was late for his 7am shift on 23 March when he rang his sergeant to say he had stopped on his 39-mile drive to work after he saw a car spin out of control on the A19 dual-carriageway and pull up in a lay-by.
He claimed he spoke to the driver and then let him continue on his journey, but the panel said it was “incredible” an officer would do that without making further inquiries about why it had happened.
He accused a member of the public of lying.
PC Siggens, who has been sacked for gross misconduct, had already faced criticism for being late and his time-keeping was a cause of concern for his bosses.
His superiors doubted the story and made further inquiries, including checking automatic number plate recognition cameras which gave them time and location details of his vehicle.
PC Siggens maintained his story and gave a number plate of the man who supposedly came off the road, which led officers to speak to the member of the public to check if he had indeed spun his vehicle.
The driver, referred to at the disciplinary hearing as Mr M, was “perplexed” to be asked questions about his uneventful journey to work when uniformed officers spoke to him, the disciplinary panel found.
However, the officer was to claim that Mr M was himself not being truthful about spinning off the road.
After a two-day hearing last month, the panel said PC Siggens had made “deliberate” steps in his cover-up and repeatedly lied.
“A stupid lie at first might be understandable but as the story unravelled he could have apologised and confessed,” they said.
Instead, a month later he produced a detailed written fabrication. That is very serious. It is made worse by the fact that in order to conceal his own wrongdoing he accused others of it. He accused a member of the public of lying. Such conduct is unconscionable.