Off-duty officer disciplined over interference with wife's employer

Published Date: 19.07.2018

A police officer accused of using his position within the PSNI to interfere in operational matters at his wife’s place of work has been disciplined following two separate investigations by the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

The first complaint related to the officer’s encounter with one of his wife’s supervisors who he had challenged over a work-related incident involving his spouse. The supervisor told Police Ombudsman investigators the off-duty officer had appeared where she was working and started questioning her. The woman, who according to witnesses was shaken and upset following the encounter, said the off-duty officer had taken notes, questioned her on CCTV coverage and how he could access it, before telling her the issue was now a police matter.

The woman subsequently lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman’s Office. When formally interviewed by investigators the officer said he was trying to secure the CCTV footage for his wife who wanted to take the matter further and denied his actions had caused distress or annoyance. However the woman’s complaint was upheld.

Five months later, a director of the organisation also lodged a complaint of oppressive behaviour against the officer after he used the PSNI email system to send an email to the supervisor’s manager. The director complained that the man was again using his position in the Police Service to interfere in an internal operational matter and that the email, which contained references to the supervisor who lodged the initial complaint, was oppressive. His complaint was also upheld.

Although the police officer was on a rest day at the time of the first incident, the Police Ombudsman is authorised to investigate cases where off-duty officers are accused of using their positions inappropriately. Investigators found that the man had attempted to use his position as a police officer to influence private matters.

Investigators recommended disciplinary measures against the officer as his behaviour had failed to meet the standard required in the PSNI Code of Ethics. The officer attended misconduct proceedings and was issued with a formal sanction.

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