After a half-decade of uncertainty, PS James Harris, previously serving in the North West Command Unit, has been dismissed from his position.
The dismissal follows an off-duty incident dating back to June 30, 2018, at a wedding reception in Hitchin.
Harris was found to have headbutted a man, leading to charges of actual bodily harm being laid against him.
Despite these charges, the Crown Prosecution Service made the decision to withdraw the case.
Yet, the accusations against Harris did not disappear.
A misconduct hearing, led by an Independent Legally Qualified Chair on May 11, found that Harris had indeed committed an act of gross misconduct.
As a result, he was dismissed without notice and added to the College of Policing (CoP) Barred List.
While Harris’s case may seem unusual, off-duty misconduct is not unheard of within the police service.
The BBC reported in 2021 that nine serving police officers were dismissed in England and Wales for off-duty incidents.
If they had still been serving, another 13 officers could have faced the same fate.
Reasons for these dismissals typically involved gross misconduct, such as violence or dishonesty, and neglect of duty.
In recent years, several police officers have faced disciplinary action for off-duty incidents.
For instance, a Greater Manchester police officer was dismissed in 2021 for gross misconduct after being filmed punching a man outside a pub.
In 2022, both a West Yorkshire officer and a Kent officer were dismissed for gross misconduct.
The former was involved in a sexual relationship with a vulnerable woman, while the latter was found to have used his police computer to access pornography.
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