Herts police officer sacked after recording sex act video at Stevenage Police Station
- Credit: Archant
A police officer has been sacked after he filmed himself performing a sex act at Stevenage Police Station and sent it to a teenager who he believed was 17.
PC Jack Smith forwarded the clip to the teen known as "A", as well as sexual WhatsApp messages, and encouraged him to smoke cannabis.
The contact between September 19-29 last year was deemed to be gross misconduct last week, with a misconduct panel dismissing Smith without notice.
The Hertfordshire Constabulary officer, 26, recorded the explicit video while in uniform in Stevenage Police Station and sent it to the recipient - who investigators ruled should remain anonymous.
Smith shot the video just two minutes after his shift finished and then followed it with an explicit picture of himself and a sex video.
He also sent messages revealing he had previously sold sex tapes of himself and didn't challenge A on his plans to sell clips of himself.
One message talked about "getting high" and having sex, while another said about putting the teenager in handcuffs.
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A two-day hearing held in Welwyn Garden City heard that Mr A was not actually 17 - but this was not a mitigating factor.
Representing the force, George Thomas said the public could "question the motivations to investigate safeguarding concerns or criminal matters" around children by Smith's actions.
He said: "If A was the age he said he was it would be a criminal matter, but A was 18 during this period but the appropriate authority say this is an aggravating factor in this case."
Calling for the officer to be dismissed, Mr Thomas said if the video became public the consequences could be dire.
He said: "In terms of his colleagues you can only see how they could be uncomfortable or embarrassed going into work knowing that this sort of conduct had been taking place.
"It is not difficult to see the abuse and mockery this would subject his colleagues to.
"When dealing with those who have a more negative view of the police, the police need a degree of authority and this is seriously undermined by this behaviour.
"The effect this will have on his colleagues will be worse as it is based on reality and not some rumour doing the rounds."
Smith's representative Heather Oliver said her client was a well respected police officer and personal problems led him to make a "grave error of judgement".
The panel, chaired by John Bassett, said he had committed gross misconduct and if the clip emerged in the public domain it could "seriously undermine public confidence in the police service".
He said: "In terms of the harm caused by the officer's conduct the potential effect of the officer's conduct on the police service itself and public confidence can not be overstated.
"The panel has already found that the officers conduct was such that it is likely members of the public might consider the officer at least condoned certain serious criminal behaviour... and therefore might fail to impartially discharge his duty to take appropriate action under the relevant legislation.
"Such conduct can only be regarded as having, at the very least, the potential to seriously undermine public confidence in the police service.
"In this case the officer compounded the situation with his conduct on September 23, 2018, when he took and sent the video clip.
"That particular conduct is the antithesis of what the public expect from a serving police officer."
In the wake of the hearing, Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: "It is important for the public to have confidence that this sort of behaviour from a police officer will be identified, and then dealt with robustly.
"There is no place in Hertfordshire police for someone who has breached the standards to the extent this former officer has done.
"The discussion of illegal drugs and the age of the person he was communicating with is particularly troubling.
"While it is always disappointing when an officer falls short of the high standards expected of them, it is right that those who transgress are held to account in order to maintain the public trust and respect for law and order.
"I am sure the Chief Constable and Hertfordshire Constabulary will reflect on any lessons that can be learned from this incident."
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: "The public of Hertfordshire rightly expects the highest standards of integrity, conduct and behaviour from Hertfordshire Constabulary officers and staff. Those who fail on these standards will be subject to disciplinary procedures.
"Jack Smith's conduct has been found to fall well short of these standards, amounting to gross misconduct and he has been dealt with accordingly by the independent misconduct panel by being dismissed without notice.
"Hertfordshire Constabulary actively investigates allegations or suspicions of misconduct and there is no place in the force for those few individuals whose misconduct does not reflect the professionalism and dedication of the vast majority of the constabulary's officers and staff."