Sacked cop ‘A keypad mistake cost me my career’

Sacked police inspector Daemon Johnson
Sacked police inspector Daemon Johnson

Sacked police inspector Daemon Johnson will this week decide if he is to appeal against his dismissal from the Northamptonshire force for gross misconduct.

The Chron last week revealed the officer, who has 25 years’ service behind him, had been fired after an internal inquiry into allegations of ‘inappropriate comments’ to female staff, misuse of the force email system and improper behaviour.

During a candid interview with the Chron, the 45-year-old officer revealed a cloud had been hanging over his head since January when the first of two principal allegations levelled against him came to light, in this case an allegedly inappropriate text message sent to his former partner, a PCSO.

The second incident was at the end of a 12-hour shift last April when he admits to inadvertently posting an inappropriate image on Facebook to his current partner. He was not on police property and, he claims, he had intended to send the image as an MMS (multimedia messaging service).

He said: “It has been dreadful having this hanging over my head for the past few months. I made a mistake on my phone keypad and I have paid for that mistake with my career.”

He added: “I have been inundated with messages of support from all over the place, a huge number of them from colleagues, But I’ve also had great support from ordinary members of the public living in the areas in which I served. I feel choked thinking about it, I feel very humbled.”

Mr Johnson said he fully apologised for “letting down the community of Northamptonshire” and the police in particular, but he went on to condemn the course of action taken as “wholly disproportionate”.

In a letter to the Chron, he added: “Although I understand the Professional Standards panel’s decision, I consider this wholly disproportionate to the matters that I was held to account for. I have at no time been suspended and was actively engaged in policing right up to my dismissal. I have 25 years of excellent service and put in place a number of innovative community schemes in Northampton that benefit those who may be disadvantaged or at risk of harm.”

Describing himself as a “20th-century copper in a 21st-century force”, Mr Johnson declined to say whether he would take his case to appeal, an appeal which would be reviewed by the Professional Standards department that carried out the original inquiry.

He said his current partner had stood by him throughout the months of investgation during which the inquiry team had trawled through every email and text message he had sent.

Mr Johnson, who joined Northamptonshire Police from the Thames Valley force 11 years ago, was based most recently in the force control room at Wootton Hall, and before that at Weston Favell where he was a neighbourhood inspector.

He said he had felt “embarrassed” by the affair and particularly regretted that his 70-year-old father had learned of the story while watching a BBC news bulletin which followed up the original Chron story.

Four officers were “banned from Twitter earlier this year by Wootton Hall bosses for sending inappropriate messages about their jobs.