Met strikes off 'predatory' Stoke Newington cop after he 'kissed' a drug dealer he arrested
PUBLISHED: 17:36 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:36 02 October 2019
A "predatory" police officer has been found to have abused his role after persistently trying to strike up a relationship with a vulnerable woman he arrested for dealing drugs.
Pc Hitesh Patel, who was based at Stoke Newington, was found to have committed gross misconduct on Friday after an investigation was carried out by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Had he not already resigned from the force, he would have been dismissed.
Pc Patel arrested the woman for drugs offences in August 2016 and he got hold of her number when she returned to the police station to be charged the following month.
She was sentenced in December 2016, and alleges Pc Patel took her to lunch the day she appeared in court, and gave her a lift home - where he kissed her without her consent.
By the end of February 2017 Pc Patel tried calling her a further 13 times, while she was on bail for an unrelated offence.
According to the IOPC the evidence suggests he later lied to his colleague about how and when he obtained the woman's number, and that he accessed her records without having any policing purpose.
IOPC investigators began looking into the case two years ago after Pc Patel's colleagues raised concerns.
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Last August they told the Met they believed Pc Patel had a case to answer for gross misconduct, and the Met agreed.
On Friday a panel at a misconduct hearing found Pc Patel breached the standards of professional behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy, honesty and integrity, discreditable conduct and confidentiality.
It also found the case involved very serious misconduct that risked undermining the confidence of the public in policing and the integrity of police officers generally.
IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: "Pc Patel clearly and persistently abused his position in an attempt to pursue a relationship with a vulnerable woman.
"Such was the effect on the woman Pc Patel pursued, that during the course of our thorough year-long investigation she was so fearful of reprisals that she did not feel able to provide a formal statement.
"This was a terrible betrayal of his role. It undermines public confidence and this sort of predatory behaviour has no place in policing.
"It serves only to undermine the hard work and endeavour of the vast majority of serving police officers who are equally outraged by this conduct.
They added: "I am pleased that the independent panel has reinforced the message that this sort of behaviour by police officers is never acceptable."
Patel will be placed on the College of Policing's barred list to ensure he will never again work within policing.