Cop escapes with his job despite two gross misconduct findings
Written by Rother Radio News on 24/11/2020
A South Yorkshire Police officer will keep his job despite being responsible for gross misconduct over two separate personal relationships.
A disciplinary tribunal found PC Darren Kimberley had breached police regulations to the point of gross misconduct over each allegation, though the officer had only accepted his behaviour amounted to the lesser offence of misconduct.
That could have cost his job but the tribunal ordered he be issued with a final written warning instead, after hearing of an “exemplary” previous career with just eight days sick leave in 17 years.
The officer admitted striking up a personal relationship, described as an “emotional affair” with a vulnerable crime victim, which went on for around three years and involved her giving him money as a gift.
On the day of the offence, when he knew she was shaken, he asked them to use his personal phone number than his police phone and the relationship developed from there.
Last year he was reported to South Yorkshire Police by a concerned member of the public who spotted him in a clinch with his girlfriend at the shopping centre where he worked.
They were concerned his partner looked young, which was not the case, but when police reviewed CCTV footage they found he was still in uniform while off duty as the pair kissed and she stroked his arms, legs and inner thighs as they sat close together.
PC Kimberley, who lives in Sheffield, had admitted he was “embarrassed” when he viewed the footage.
However, the hearing was told he had been battling mental health issues following the breakdown of his marriage and was in an isolated role when the problems occurred.
He has since sought professional help and also received glowing appraisals from managers within the service.
South Yorkshire Police were represented by lawyer Olivia Cheka Dover, who argued the officer’s actions undermined public confidence and trust in police.
His counsel, Chloe Fairley, told the hearing he had been “brutally honest” about his behaviour, despite neither witness wanting to co-operate against him.
“He allowed familiarity to blur boundaries” in his dealings with the crime victim, she said, and in relation to the encounter with his girlfriend “he was candid in his embarrassment and shame”.
Panel chairman Craig Hassell said they had decided the “appropriate outcome” was a final written warning.
Details of their reasons would be passed to South Yorkshire Police later, he said, but they had wanted to let of officer know the outcome as soon as possible.