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PC James Spencer dismissed after 'groping' charge at police misconduct hearing

By Aidan Barlow

A policeman has been dismissed without notice after groping a woman’s breasts while off duty in a nightclub.

PC James Spencer, who lives in Ashford, was at the Cameo nightclub in the town centre in February earlier this year.

He admitted that he had inappropriately touched the breasts of a woman, named only as Miss A, who he did not know, before being pushed away.

Stock image

Stock image

The officer who served in Deal received a police caution for the incident, and his case was referred to a misconduct hearing at Kent Police headquarters at Sutton Road in Maidstone.

The charge against him states that his behaviour fell far below that which is expected of an officer, bringing discredit upon the force and undermining public confidence.

Speaking at the disciplinary panel today, Detective Inspector Danny Rose, from professional standards, said Spencer had been out socialising with friends at the club when he approached an 18-year-old woman in the smoking area.

Det Insp Rose said: "They were approached by two unknown men who began asking, then pestering, for a cigarette. They collectively refused.

"PC Spencer snatched a packet from a friend, who snatched it back. Then a friend of Spencer lifted up Spencer's shirt and said 'surely abs like that deserve a cigarette.'

The Cameo nightclub in Ashford

The Cameo nightclub in Ashford

"Miss A went back into the club and on CCTV PC Spencer approached her table. He then put both his hands towards Miss A, grabbed both breasts and squeezed before she pushed him away and remonstrated with him."

The hearing was told she felt it "hit her like a hammer", and her privacy had been invaded.

Door staff say PC Spencer was a regular at the club, and initially, when they approached him, he denied what he had done.

He thought he had been escorted out of the nightclub for being too drunk. 

Then, on March 29 this year, following a police investigation, PC Spencer received a criminal caution for sexual assault.

His Police Federation representative Neil Mennie said that PC Spencer had admitted the charge and said he was "embarrassed and ashamed".

Speaking at the hearing, Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, said: "The evidence is overwhelming, and resulted in a criminal caution being administered to one of my officers.

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley

"The crime of sexual assault is totally unacceptable in society. The fact that, on this occasion, the perpetrator is a serving police officer aggravates the situation."

The Chief Constable apologised to the victim on behalf of Kent Police and said the behaviour on or off duty of PC Spencer was totally unjustified. 

He added: "He has brought discredit upon himself and my force. The public can no longer have trust in him as a police officer. Neither can I."

 

 

 

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