AN Avon and Somerset Police officer has been handed a final written warning after gross misconduct was found proven, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

PC Kenneth 'Kenny' Brogan faced allegations of gross misconduct after being accused of having inappropriate contact with a woman he had met through his duties.

The officer contacted the woman by text and WhatsApp more than 100 times during October 2020.

Some of the messages were considered inappropriate and flirtatious, used unprofessional language and indicated an attempt to engage in a relationship.

He further messaged the woman after she had made it clear she did not wish to receive further contact from the police, which caused her stress and anxiety.

The IOPC investigation began later that month following a complaint referral from Avon and Somerset Police.

As part of that investigation, investigators analysed the work and personal phones of the officer and obtained screenshots of the messages from the victim’s phone.

We considered statements from the subject officer along with a number of witnesses, including the victim and her friends.

At the conclusion of the investigation in April, a report was submitted to Avon and Somerset Police stating that the officer should face gross misconduct proceedings.

At a police disciplinary hearing last week, led by an independent, legally qualified chairman, it was determined that the officer had breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in a number of areas including integrity, authority, respect and courtesy, and discreditable conduct.

The panel imposed a sanction on Friday (September 24) of a final written warning to be in place for five years.

IOPC regional director David Ford said: “Cases such as these have the real potential to impact on public confidence in the police.

"At the outset of their service, it is made clear to officers that it is inappropriate to have or seek personal relationships with members of the public they meet through the course of their duties.

"Our investigation assessed more than 100 text and WhatsApp messages from the officer and formed the view that PC Brogan had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

"The police disciplinary panel decided that the officer’s actions breached standards of professional behaviour and, as a result, have given him a final written warning."