In the aftermath of horrific incidents of police misconduct nationally such as Wayne Couzens’ abduction and murder of Sarah Everard, even more focus has been put on the actions of police officers across the UK, including in Essex.Over the past 12 months, there have been many misconduct hearings involving officers who work for either Essex Police or the Met Police based in the Essex region.The reasons behind each officer’s misconduct hearing vary, but among them include an officer who was alleged to have assaulted his wife, a cop who called in sick but then became involved in an altercation at Newmarket racecourse and others who had been making sexualised comments.
Police misconduct hearings are held before an independent and legally qualified chair, who sometimes chooses to hold proceedings in private. For this reason, there are occasions where journalists and the public are prevented from hearing what actually happened that caused an officer to lose their jobs. In one case this year one hearing prevented the name of the officer to be published to protect his victim.
Below are the police officers in Essex who have been sacked or resigned over bad behaviour in 2022.Superintendent Craig Saunders
Senior copper Craig Saunders’ actions were so bad his colleague deputy chief constable Andy Prophet described them as “utterly unacceptable”.
Essex Police did not disclose what the nature of the allegations was against their officer who managed the force control room and EssexLive were unable to report what the copper did as the misconduct hearing into his actions was heard in private.
Independent Legally Qualified Chair Monica Daley-Campbell determined that it should be held in private, “balancing the need for openness and transparency” with the need for former Supt Saunders and a witness to “give their evidence openly unfettered by any considerations of publicity”, and the welfare duties of both parties.
The panel found that allegations that former Supt Saunders had breached “standards of honesty and integrity, authority, respect and courtesy, and conduct” were proven and he was dismissed from the force without notice.
Former Supt Saunders had previously managed the day-to-day management of the force control room which deals with emergency 999 calls to the force.
Unnamed serving police officer
A serving police officer was sacked from the force after a series of allegations of assault towards his wife, also a serving police officer. It was also claimed he had acted in a “disrespectful, coercive and/or controlling manner” towards her.
Both the victim and perpetrator worked for Essex Police at the time of the incidents. The panel found the matter “breached professional standards of discreditable conduct and honesty and integrity” and was proven to the level of “gross misconduct”. The officer was dismissed without notice.
Detective Sergeant Marvin Turner
A serving Met Police detective was sacked after taking advantage of a junior female colleague in a sexual way. DS Turner, attached to the East Area Command Unit, was sacked after an investigation into sexual harassment.
A police chief said DS Turner had put a colleague in a “very unpleasant situation” and “has no place in policing”.
A female officer reported that in June 2021, while on a night out, DS Turner made sexualised and/or sexually harassing comments to her. He also touched her in a sexual manner without her consent.
DS Turner was placed on restricted duties on July 2, 2021 and provided an account under caution on July 22 that year. He was investigated criminally but the case did not meet the threshold for a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service.
PC Kira Wealls
Essex copper PC Wealls called in sick for a late shift – but then went to an event at Newmarket Racecourse and ended up involved in an incident which resulted in police being called.
PC Wealls was due to work a late shift on June 24, 2022, but called in sick. Later that day she went to Newmarket racecourse and was involved in an altercation with members of the public.
Chief Constable Harrington said: “When a member of Essex Police needs to report sick because they are unwell there is rightly trust and understanding that they will use this period to get well to return to duty. Ms Wealls abused this trust and attended a social event with friends.
“Essex Police will support staff who are ill, but we will not tolerate behaviour that undermines the integrity of the force and brings the hard work of the many into disrepute.”
PC Jodie Cole
A Metropolitan Police officer from Essex who “deliberately lied” to fellow officers resigned after being convicted in court. PC Jodie Cole, from Colchester, was previously attached to the Criminal Recording Investigation Bureau.
However, PC Cole resigned from the force following her appearance at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on February 9 this year where she stood trial over two counts of obstructing or resisting a police officer in the execution of their duty. The charges related to an incident in Colchester between August 30 and 31, 2021.
Cole had denied the two charges but the magistrates’ bench convicted her for both matters. She was fined £600 and was ordered to pay £835 in costs. Following this, Cole resigned from the force.
PC Elton Borg
PC Borg would have been sacked if he had not already resigned from his role after refusing to complete a drug test. The former Essex Police officer had been asked to take part in a drug test on May 3 this year but refused to do so.
A misconduct panel on August 2 found that if PC Borg, who had been based in the west of the county, had not already resigned he would have been dismissed.
PC William Reeves
Another former Essex Police officer would have been sacked for inappropriate behaviour towards female colleagues had he not already quit. William Reeves was found to have committed gross misconduct after behaving inappropriately towards two female officers who were also going through training at the Essex Police College.
It was also alleged that the former officer had insulted a member of the public while off duty. All alleged incidents took place in summer 2021.
According to an Essex Police report from the hearing, it was said that former PC Reeves had inappropriately described a female officer, known as PC 8, as a “rocket”, “stunning” and “gorgeous”. The female officer asked Reeves to stop making such comments, but he continued to do so.
In August 2021, Reeves inappropriately stroked the back of PC 8’s neck whilst asking if she was OK. He also made a suggestive comment towards her whilst working at his computer.
Prior to a social event former PC Reeves said he had booked a hotel room because another female police officer, known as PC W, “would be really drunk and you may get to sleep with her.” He also told her to die when he was told someone else was polishing her boots.
It was also alleged that former PC Reeves spoke objectively about another female student. He was involved in an incident in June 2021 at Nandos in Chelmsford in which he insulted a member of the public after a man brushed past him.
PC Jamie Ellis
A former Essex Police cop inappropriately touched a female officer and made a series of inappropriate sexual comments towards another. PC Jamie Ellis was found to have committed gross misconduct as a result of his behaviour.
PC Ellis was socialising while off-duty in May 2021 when he inappropriately touched a female officer without her consent. He also made a series of unsolicited and inappropriate sexual comments towards another off-duty female officer. The behaviour was challenged by a fellow male officer on the night.
The panel found if PC Ellis had not already resigned, he would have been dismissed.
PC Matthew Turner
PC Turner had already quit Essex Police but it was heard he would have been sacked at his misconduct hearing on December 12 this year. The hearing held at Chelmsford Civic Centre, chaired by independent Legally Qualified Chair Alexandra Robson, found three of four allegations against the officer to be proven, each of which amounted to gross misconduct.
It was claimed that PC Turner had written and sent malicious letters to a number of people while on duty between 2017 and 2019. He was also alleged to have accessed a colleague’s locker and stolen items of police equipment.
The panel found breaches of the ‘honesty and integrity’ and ‘discreditable conduct’ standards of professional behaviour and declared that Former-PC Turner would have been dismissed had he not already resigned from his position within the Operational Policing Command. His details will be added to the College of Policing barred list.
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet said: “Former PC Turner’s behaviour fell far well below the standards we expect of our officers. The panel concluded his behaviour was dishonest, undermined public trust and confidence and amounted to gross misconduct. The Force is committed to supporting our staff, officers and volunteers but where behaviour falls so far below the standards required, we act accordingly.”