Special Constable given written warning after failing to declare full details of employment history

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A Special Constable has been given a written warning after he failed to disclose full details of the reason he left a job at Argos.

The case against the officer, who has not been named, had centred on allegations he completed an application form to join Northamptonshire Police as a regular constable and within the application form was not open and honest about a previous employment history and that, while working as a Special, he had failed to notify the Force of a change in employment status.

The panel, chaired by Mr Richard O’Hagan, found the officer’s breaches of conduct “amounted to misconduct, but are not so serious they constitute gross misconduct”.

The allegations relate to the officer’s application to the Force to become a regular constable which failed to notify them that his employment with Argos had ceased.

In November 2010, the hearing was told, the officer’s employment with the company came to an end, following the return to the store of a faulty TV set which he had bought several years earlier, and for which he was given £200 in vouchers.

Argos considered the TV should not have been returned given its age, the voucher offer was excessive and it was considered he had improperly used his position to secure an advantage he would not otherwise have received. The company launched misconduct proceedings against him as a result.

The hearing was told Argos made the decision to dismiss him, but the officer maintained he had submitted his resignation before that happened, a view supported by the panel.

The panel, however, said it was a “matter of unchallenged fact” that he failed to notify police in 2010 that his employment with Argos had ceased.

In addition, he did not disclose he had been dismissed when he applied for appointment as a Constable, but instead said that he had resigned.

It was clear, the panel said, his application form did not give a full account of the circumstances surrounding the end of his employment with Argos.

It concluded: “The officer did not fail to show the honesty and integrity of a police officer. Rather he told the truth as he perceived it to be. That view was dogmatic and driven by his sense of grievance, but did not amount to dishonesty or lack of integrity”.

The panel ruled the officer had failed to follow orders and instructions, specifically that he ought to have known he was under a duty to disclose the information both in 2010 and in his later application form to join the police.

It concluded his failure to disclose the information he was required to disclose had amounted to discreditable conduct, “albeit at the lower end of the spectrum of seriousness”.

The written warning to remain in place for 12 months was both a “justified and proportionate” sanction, the hearing was told.