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A former police officer who was cleared by a jury over a claim he tried to film a naked female colleague as she showered at the force’s headquarters is now facing a misconduct hearing.

Jonathan Eaton, 33, had been suspended from his role within Gloucestershire Constabulary since being cleared of a criminal charge at Newport Crown Court last year.

He had denied a single count of voyeurism on February 27, 2019, and was acquitted following a six-day trial. 

A disciplinary hearing, which began on Monday, was told Mr Eaton had formally resigned from Gloucestershire Constabulary and that he would not be attending or taking an active role in proceedings.

Presiding counsel Gerard Boyle QC told the hearing that, as a result of legislation in 2017, former officers could still face misconduct proceedings after leaving their respective force.

He said: ‘However the outcomes are now limited because he is a former officer and those outcomes are determined by whether there is a finding of misconduct or gross misconduct.

‘If there is a finding of misconduct simpliciter, the panel would record that fact and take no further action. 

PC Jonathan Eaton pictured arriving at Newport Crown Court on April 12 last year, where he was cleared by a jury of voyeurism

PC Jonathan Eaton pictured arriving at Newport Crown Court on April 12 last year, where he was cleared by a jury of voyeurism

PC Jonathan Eaton pictured arriving at Newport Crown Court on April 12 last year, where he was cleared by a jury of voyeurism

‘If there was a finding of gross misconduct the panel can consider only two possible outcomes – either take no disciplinary action or take disciplinary action which means making a finding that a former officer would have been dismissed had he still been a serving member of the force.’

The hearing’s chair, Peter Cadman, said the legislation gave the panel jurisdiction to proceed in Mr Eaton’s absence.

Mr Boyle QC said the force believes Mr Eaton breached police standards of professional behaviour, honesty and integrity and failed to perform his duties consciously and diligently – failings he says amount to gross misconduct. 

He said the initial incident is alleged to have taken place in the unisex changing rooms of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s headquarters on February 27, 2019.

A woman, referred to as Witness A in the hearing, was using the shower as part of her daily routine at around 7.25am when she noticed a distinctive phone being held underneath the partition, the panel heard. 

Mr Boyle QC added: ‘It is alleged that Mr Boyle attempted to use his phone under the shower partition and observe or record the female colleague taking a shower. When he left the cubicle he was challenged by the woman and she made an allegation that he was using his phone to film her.

‘After he left the changing room area, and prior to being arrested, he made searches on the internet about mobile phone use and performed a factory reset, wiping his phone and deleting his web browsing history.

The headquarters of Gloucestershire Constabulary, where the alleged incident is said to have taken place

The headquarters of Gloucestershire Constabulary, where the alleged incident is said to have taken place

The headquarters of Gloucestershire Constabulary, where the alleged incident is said to have taken place

‘As a serving police officer he would have been well aware of the forensic and evidential significance of his phone being maintained as it was following such an allegation being made.

‘He deliberately interfered with his phone which he knew would be an important piece of evidence and potentially an exhibit.

‘In short, he acted in a deplorable fashion, utterly out of keeping with the high standards of behaviour expected of police officers.’ 

The misconduct panel heard that the primary purpose of disciplinary procedures was to not to punish officers, but to preserve public confidence in the reputation of the police service by holding officers accountable and making it clear that improper behaviour does not go unchecked.

Mr Boyle QC added: ‘This will also maintain high standards by demonstrating that misconduct will not be tolerated.

‘A third aspect will mean that the public will be protected by not allowing an officer to commit similar misconduct again by excluding them from the police service.’

Mr Eaton denies the charges. The hearing continues. 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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