Northamptonshire policeman sacked for gross misconduct following separate incidents of racist language and being drunk on duty

Chief Constable Simon Edens dismissed the officer without notice following the hearing.
Chief Constable Simon Edens dismissed the officer without notice following the hearing.

A Northamptonshire police officer has been dismissed following a fast track misconduct hearing at which he admitted making "seriously inappropriate, derogatory and racially abusive" comments.

Northamptonshire Police revealed today, that police sergeant Steven Neal was found by a disciplinary hearing to have "used language incompatible with the role and duty of a police officer".

He was also found to have used a breathalyser device without authority and subsequently remained on duty with a significant amount of alcohol in his body.

Police revealed no further specific details of the breaches of standards.

Chief constable Simon Edens, who chaired the hearing, said: “The breaches of the standards are serious, including breaches of integrity, and the use of abusive and racist language that is universally seen as wholly incompatible with the office of constable. I found three separate incidents of gross misconduct aggravated by four other incidents which I assessed as misconduct.

“The purpose of Northamptonshire Police is to protect people from harm. Conduct which undermines the trust and confidence of communities is a threat to our ability to do that. This is particularly so with minority communities who feel that the police has discriminated against them in the past.”

The hearing paid particular attention to Sergeant Neal’s record as an effective officer with a record of commendations and good work, including testimonials from colleagues.

Chief constable Edens said: “I am particularly struck by the examples provided which show me that Sergeant Neal has treated victims of crime with care, compassion and sensitivity. I note too that, even when he was under investigation, he left his inspector with the impression that he would ‘work hard and deliver anything asked of him’.”

The Police Federation representative for PS Neal had presented medical evidence arguing that any misbehaviour may have been attributable, at least in part, to his medical conditions.

However, Mr Edens concluded: “Notwithstanding my genuine sympathy for PS Neal, even if his judgement and self-control were impaired, the breaches were so serious that a final written warning would be entirely inadequate. Therefore, I dismiss PS Neal from the police service without notice.”