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Northamptonshire Pc sacked for acting dishonestly to protect her son

Published 30/09/2015

Northamptonshire Pc Karen Clarke faced claims she tried to protect her son after he failed to stop for police
Northamptonshire Pc Karen Clarke faced claims she tried to protect her son after he failed to stop for police

A Pc has been sacked after failing to gather intelligence on her daughter's drug-dealer boyfriend and acting dishonestly to protect her son.

A Northamptonshire Police misconduct panel dismissed Pc Karen Clarke without notice after ruling that she withheld information, including a phone number, after her son's car failed to stop for officers.

Although the 49-year-old was cleared of having a heated argument with her son while in uniform, she was found guilty of other breaches of honesty and integrity amounting to gross misconduct.

A one-day hearing in Northampton was told Pc Clarke failed to inform a sergeant of a phone conversation with her son, who faced being recalled to prison after being "in and out" of jail.

Pc Clarke, based in Kettering, was found to have failed to to submit intelligence logs on a "prolific" offender who visited her home during an on-off relationship with her daughter.

The disciplinary panel, chaired by Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Swann, also found the officer had "given a false impression" to a more senior colleague in relation to an incident involving her son's BMW.

In direct evidence to the panel, Pc Clarke denied acting dishonestly by deleting texts and claimed her mind was "absolute mush" after she found out her son's car had been abandoned in Raunds in February.

The panel heard that Pc Clarke's son was in breach of his licence by visiting Raunds without prior agreement from probation officers.

Opting not to issue Pc Clarke with a written warning, ACC Swann told the officer: "The view of the panel is that the appropriate outcome is dismissal.

"It is vitally important that public trust and confidence is maintained in the local police service."

ACC Swann added that Pc Clarke's breaches of required standards included suggesting an explanation to her son for his actions which she knew to be false.

Pc Clarke's barrister, Steve Evans, had urged the panel to show leniency.

Offering mitigation, he told the three-strong committee: "But for these occasions, this is an officer with an impeccable record, well thought of, and of great value to the force.

"The misjudgments that she made of these occasions, at the very least, have some explanation.

"Her sin was the sin of omission. It wasn't that she lied to the police sergeant - she simply didn't provide him with the information that was in her possession.

"For that reason, in my submission, you can deal with Karen Clarke by way of a final written warning rather than the extraordinarily draconian dismissal without notice."

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