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Former Met detective barred from policing after relationship with abuse victim

Joseph Gilligan resigned from the Met in February 2021.

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Joseph Gilligan also shared confidential information and accessed police records without authorisation (PA)

Joseph Gilligan also shared confidential information and accessed police records without authorisation (PA)

Joseph Gilligan also shared confidential information and accessed police records without authorisation (PA)

An ex-Metropolitan Police detective who formed an inappropriate relationship with a domestic abuse victim would have been sacked if he was still serving, the force has said.

Joseph Gilligan, a former detective constable, also shared confidential information and accessed police records without authorisation, the Met said following the conclusion of a misconduct hearing on Friday.

The force said his behaviour was “completely unacceptable”, adding that people like Mr Gilligan are “not welcome” in the Met.

Among the allegations Mr Gilligan faced was that he failed to report a road collision in which he was involved while driving, and apparently after he had been drinking.

His actions fell far below the rigorous values and standards that we strive to upholdChief Superintendent Sara Leach

The Met said the hearing was told that on March 26 2019, Mr Gilligan, who was attached to the North West Basic Command Unit, was appointed as the officer in charge of an investigation where a woman accused her former partner of domestic abuse.

On June 20 2019, Mr Gilligan abused his position of trust and started an improper sexual relationship with the victim, the Met claimed.

The force added that, on October 28 2019, Mr Gilligan made an unauthorised disclosure when he shared sensitive images and footage with the victim from a serious sexual assault investigation he was dealing with.

According to the Met, the disciplinary hearing was told that between January 4 2020 and February 11 2020, the former officer carried out four unauthorised searches, for which there was no policing purpose, in relation to the victim and her former partner.

The force said that, on December 19 2019, he forwarded confidential emails from his Met police work account to his personal email account regarding criminal investigations into or concerning the victim, her former partner and other members of the public.

The Met said the hearing was told that between December 1 2019 and December 11 2019, Mr Gilligan accessed the victim’s mobile phone on three occasions without her consent – twice at her house and one at the police station where he worked.

The Met also said the hearing was told that on November 29 2019 Mr Gilligan crashed his personal car into a vehicle in a police station car park.

At the time of the collision it is alleged he was over the drink-drive limit and failed to report the collision when it happened.

Instead, according to the Met, he made a report the following day and untruthfully said the collision happened because he had suffered a diabetic episode.

The Met said that independent chairman Cameron Brown and panel members found that the allegations against the former detective constable were proven to have breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct, confidentiality, honesty and integrity, and authority, respect and courtesy at a level of gross misconduct.

He would have been dismissed without notice had he still been a serving officer, the Met said.

Mr Gilligan resigned from the Met in February 2021.

The hearing followed an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The IOPC said its investigation followed a referral from the Met in February 2020 and looked at allegations that the officer had formed an inappropriate relationship with a woman he met during the course of his duties.

Evidence gathered indicated that he had accessed information relating to her on police computer systems.

The IOPC said a file of evidence was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which made the decision not to authorise charges against Mr Gilligan.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “Former DC Gilligan formed a relationship with a woman who was a victim of domestic violence and therefore was potentially vulnerable.

“Actions like this undermine the public’s trust in police officers, who should also know that it is entirely inappropriate to use police computer systems for personal reasons, as he was found to have done.

“Former DC Gilligan has now left policing and his name will be put on the barred list so he cannot rejoin in the future.”

Chief Superintendent Sara Leach, who is in charge of policing for the North West Area Basic Command Unit, said: “Former DC Gilligan’s behaviour was completely unacceptable and I am pleased that he is no longer a serving officer – people like him are not welcome in our Met.

“His actions fell far below the rigorous values and standards that we strive to uphold.

“Officers should be doing everything in their power to protect victims, they should not be abusing their position of trust and power to form relationships with them.

“The trust of the public is fundamental to our core purpose of keeping London safe.”

Those appearing on the barred list held by the College of Policing cannot be employed by police, local policing bodies (PCCs), the Independent Office for Police Conduct or Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

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