Special constable sacked after colleagues find him at a Northampton house party during national lockdown

The then 20-year-old recognised the colleagues who busted the party as he had been on patrol with them the previous week handing out Covid penalty notices

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 11:04 am
The special constable has been dismissed from Northamptonshire Police.

A special constable has been dismissed after colleagues busted a house party he was attending during the third national lockdown.

George Tomlinson was in the third and final year of a professional policing degree at the University of Northampton and working as a special constable for Northamptonshire Police in February this year when the incident took place.

The then 20-year-old and now 21-year-old was at a house party in Birchfield Road on February 20, where more than 15 people were in attendance, thus breaking the Covid restrictions that were in place at the time.

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On November 15, a police misconduct hearing heard that Tomlinson was recognised by one of the officers who attended the party, but said he ‘had no clue’ why he would recognise him and lied when one of the officers asked if he was a special constable.

Tomlinson gave his correct details, cooperated with police and paid his fixed penalty notice, but the panel heard how he later rang the specials inspector to report what had happened.

The panel put forward two allegations, which were: Tomlinson committed an offence by breaking the Covid regulations and that he was ‘dishonest and failed to act with integrity in his dealings with officers by denying he was a constable,’ which breaches the standards of professional behaviour.

The panel believed that both breaches amount to gross misconduct.

A report published following the hearing said: “The restrictions imposed by the coronavirus regulations were deeply unpopular with the public in general, and the discredit caused by a police officer breaching them, when in the line of duty they may be called upon to enforce them, is such as to be so serious, in our view, to justify dismissal.”

The officer accepted both allegations and apologised ‘repeatedly and sincerely’ during the hearing.

The panel also heard how Tomlinson was ‘pressured and ultimately persuaded’ by his housemates to attend the party in the first place and that when the gathering exceeded the limit he urged his friends that they ought to leave.

Tomlinson ‘panicked’ when he saw officers enter the room and tried to ‘cover up’ that he was a special constable.

The panel heard how Tomlinson also recognised the officers and had been out on patrol with them the previous week, handing out Covid penalty notices.

He said he was ‘embarrassed’ about being caught by police colleagues in front of his friends.

Concluding the hearing, the report added: “Considering culpability, we find it clear that the officer concerned knew he should not have been at the gathering.

“Whilst we accept he may have come under some pressure to attend, he ought not to have done so and should have left as soon as he knew he was in breach of the regulations.

“As for denying he was an officer, we note his dishonesty was not planned.

“However, whilst we accept he likely did panic, it was an obvious lie uttered in order to try and cover up his misconduct.”

The panel goes on to say the ‘only appropriate and proportionate sanction’ in this case is dismissal without notice.