Published: 15:44, 26 October 2020
| Updated: 20:02, 26 October 2020
A police officer used Kent Police premises as a base to conduct his sexual trysts and affairs, a misconduct hearing has heard.This included havinga relationship with a student officer he was training andbooking a dorm room to have sex with a member of the public
Former PC James Empett then tried to persuade a student officer he was having an affair with, as well as another student officer who knew of the relationship, to mislead an investigation into his behaviour.
He also attempted to pursue a relationship with another officer he was training but was rebuffed.
A misconduct hearing was held today to decide whether PC Empett, who is no longer at the force, had committed gross misconduct by breaching the standards of professional behaviour.
The panel, chaired by Clare Harrington, heard that a student officer, referred to only as PC N throughout, had joined Kent Police College, in Coverdale Avenue, Maidstone, in January 2019.
PC Empett, who was married, was one of her tutors.
Matthew Chidley, presenting the evidence, said it appeared the relationship had lasted for several months and PC N had been booking a room at "the hostel block", in order for the pair to have sex.
The relationship was discovered by two fellow trainee officers after a night out at a pub in April, and later by another officer, who PC N confided in.
Mr Chidley said one April evening, a group had gone to a pub in Linton, with PC Empett joining later.
As the group got smaller, one of the student constables became suspicious and noticed the pair had their arms around each other.
The next morning, PC N texted him, asking to keep the relationship "on absolute lockdown as jobs are at stake".
The second student constable, referred to as PC R, asked the pair at the pub if they were "carrying on", to which they laughed and PC Empett kissed PC N on the temple.
The group returned to college premises and the pair started "French kissing" in a "passionate way" in front of PC R.
They later went to a room in the accommodation block and had sex, PC R said.
Only the day before, PC Empett had "expressed an interest" in PC R.
PC R had messaged PC Empett with a professional query, to which PC Empett replied: "You are on track to pick this up, but when I say this... I mean me lol."
PC R told Empett he would not cheat on his partner, to which Empett replied he knew and later said: "I like you more than I should."
"If it gets out he could lose his job and I could be in trouble..."
Later that month, PC N informed her close friend at the college, referred to throughout as PC D, about her relationship, after she was told to by PC Empett that it would be good for her to have someone to "confide in".
PC D was then told: "If it gets out he could lose his job and I could be in trouble."
After confiding in fellow classmates, PC D reported the relationship to her superiors, sparking the professional standards department (PSD) investigation.
"This was quite frankly an appalling situation created by PC Empett", Mr Chidley said, and placed PC D in an "impossible situation".
PC Empett was described as "toying" with PC N and his behaviour was "manipulative" towards her.
Over messages, he had told a fellow PC, PC Brown, who was also being investigated by the PSD for an inappropriate relationship with an officer, that he had ended the affair.
When asked if there were "any loose lips," PC Empett replied: "I will have to cross that bridge but I don't think so."
Referring to himself, PC Brown replied: "You got that bridge covered, I taught you well."
In February, PC Empett had told a sergeant that PC N had sent him a photo of herself in lingerie by mistake and was extremely upset and embarrassed. In fact, the photo was sent on purpose for his birthday.
PC N underplayed the relationship when first asked about it on April 29, saying mutual feelings had been expressed but PC Empett was adamant it should not go further because of his position.
However, the next month, after being informed she was being investigated for a misconduct matter, PC N provided a lengthy account of their relationship.
PC Empett had persuaded her to delete incriminating evidence and the pair previously had agreed on a false account of their relationship, the panel heard.
The panel also heard that in October 2017, PC Empett booked a dorm in the college to have "sexual liaisons" with a member of the public, referred to as Matthew. If challenged, Matthew should lie about why he was in the college, PC Empett instructed.
Another meeting had been arranged at the college for December that year but Matthew had to cancel.
This was another example of PC Empett "prioritising his pleasure over propriety," Mr Chidley said.
During a first interview in April, PC Empett said he was aware of PC N's feelings towards him but denied anything sexual. In December, he was asked again, and also questioned on his use of Kent Police premises for sex, to which he responded no comment.
PC Empett was aware of today's hearing but did not want to take part in the proceedings.
Summing up, Mr Chidley said PC Empett's actions demonstrated a clear disregard for the welfare of pupils under his care and raises serious questions about his honesty, integrity and objectivity.
The allegations made towards PC Brown have not been proven and he retired prior to disciplinary proceedings commencing.
The panel will announce its ruling tomorrow.