'Predatory' Northamptonshire Police officer quit before he could be sacked

The disciplinary hearing took place at Wootton Hall
The disciplinary hearing took place at Wootton Hall

A misconduct hearing has determined a former Northamptonshire Police constable would have been dismissed without notice had he not already resigned.

This newspaper reported last month that PC Luke Chalmers, 30, was alleged at a tribunal to have behaved in a predatory manner for his sexual gain towards several vulnerable women he met through work.

It can now be confirmed that the panel decided that Chalmers would have been sacked if he had not chosen to resign, which he did in December 2018 while maintaining his innocence.

Derrick Campbell, the regional director for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) - whcih gathered evidence against Chalmers said officers are expected to maintain the highest standards of behaviour whether on or off duty.

He said: "PC Chalmers would have been dismissed with immediate effect for abusing the trust and power placed in him as a police officer had he not already resigned.”

“Officers should not establish improper sexual or emotional relationships with someone they come into contact with in the course of their duty, who may be vulnerable."

The IOPC investigation found evidence that the officer had a sexual relationship in 2017 while on duty with a woman he had cautioned for assault, and that he encouraged inappropriate contact with other women who were alleged victims of crimes.

It also found that he accessed force computer systems for information about women for no policing purpose, and had made searches from his personal mobile on a pornographic website while on duty.

Mr Campbell said: “In our opinion it is clear this police constable took premeditated, targeted, predatory steps for his own sexual gratification towards women to whom he owed a duty of care.

"I am pleased that the thorough investigative work we carried out was able to gather the evidence on which the disciplinary panel could be sure of its ruling."

Following a referral from Northamptonshire Police in November 2017, the IOPC carried out a six-month investigation which examined data retrieved from Chalmers' work Blackberry and personal phone, police logs, and witness accounts.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided in November 2018 there was insufficient evidence for any criminal charge, after consideration of the investigation report.

However, the IOPC found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct and Northamptonshire Police agreed to hold a two-day disciplinary hearing which ended on 29 January.

The hearing was told Chalmers met a woman after he cautioned her for assault and later had sex with her on two occasions while on duty. He also gave his personal number to another woman who had reportedly been 'grabbed' in public.

Chalmers also used police computers to look up personal details of three women he met on cases, and was also caught watching explicit videos while on duty.

Chalmers has now been placed on the barred list of former officers will never be allowed to work for the police service.