Published: 10:15, 05 November 2019
| Updated: 10:19, 05 November 2019
Police sergeants could by dismissed from the force after being accused of creating a 'ladidsh' clique in the office.
A misconduct hearing began at Kent Police headquarters in Maidstone yesterday, seeking to establish whether Sgt Jamie Howard and Sgt Nicholas Grainger had breached the standards of professional behaviour.
Both officers allegedly "abused their powers" and "undermined, humiliated or denigrated others" while in their roles as local police team sergeants in Medway.
Both Sgt Howard, who has served on the force for 17 years, and Sgt Grainger, who has served for 13, have received training relating to harassment, workplace bullying, equality and diversity, standards of professional behaviour and ethics.
They have been accused of creating "laddish" clique, in which they engaged in sexual innuendo and "discriminatory or denigrating assessment of female colleagues", or to have treated young females different to the way they treated others.
Yesterday, , female officers who had been working under the Sgts between 2016 and 2018 appeared to give evidence at the hearing relating to the way they were treated in and out of work hours.
PC Sam Luck said she had seen Sgt Grainger and another unamed Sergeant sitting at their desk looking through Facebook profiles.
"I would often feel that if you didn't do as they say, then you would be treated less favourably..." PC Sam Luck, Kent Police
She believed that the profiles belonged to new female officers due to join the team, and although she couldn't recall the exact comments, she alleged that they were making remarks about their looks.
PC Luck told the panel, "There was a laddish culture. I would often feel that if you didn't do as they say, then you would be treated less favourably.'
Another officer, PC Chloe Ttaris said that she felt Sgt Grainger's messages to her on WhatsApp were 'inappropriate' and 'persistant', which lead her to block him on the messaging app.
PC Naomi Gucknheim, who began working in Medway in October 2017,spoke of how Sgt Howard had made a point of sending her a photo of the local newspaper which included photos of newly-passed out police officers, including herself.
He teased in a message to her, "I thought you were famous, maybe we will have to print it out and put it in the police station."
But she was unaware he had contacted also two other female police officers about their appearance in the paper.
She also said she felt 'uncomfortable' during the team's Christmas party that year. She alleged that Sgt Grainger moved his position at the bar so he could face where she was dancing on the dancefloor.
She said: "I felt a little uncomfortable so I moved myself round and I was aware that Sgt Grainger moved as well."
Both men are accused of breaching the standards of professional behaviour.
If this is proved during the hearing, they may be dismissed from the police.