A detective inspector received a final written warning after he hit a policewoman on the floor and called her a “naughty girl” for making a cup of tea.
Detective Inspector Matt Banks was accused of meeting the Detective Constable at Kent Police headquarters on January 3 of this year.
A malpractice panel was told that Mr. Banks had a round of tea and inadvertently missed the officer known as DC.
DC was making her own cup of tea in the office kitchenette after exchanging jokes with Mr. Banks about it being left out.
The panel noted that Mr. Banks then went over and hit DC on the floor and said her words, “Just leave it, you naughty girl, I’ll do it.”
Aaron Rathmell, who represented Kent Police, said, “We know DI Banks had no intention of harming the female DC.
“He assumed a happy feeling, offered to make tea and then cross a line, but it was a very clear line he crossed and the damage and excitement was reasonably foreseeable.”
Mr Banks accepted wrongdoing but said he accidentally met DC and refused to use the word “naughty”. He told the panel he said “cheeky” instead.
On Wednesday, the panel found that Mr. Banks had beaten DC and said both cheeky and cheeky, which amounted to gross misconduct.
They rejected Mr Banks’ argument that it was a “swiping motion” as a signal to move away from the kitchen counter so that he could make the tea himself.
Mr Banks denied this but noted that he had tried to stop DC from reporting his actions and told her “what I did did not happen”.
The panel closed “very tight” to give Mr. Banks one final written warning.
Chair Claire Harrington said, “This has not treated DC, a woman, fairly and with respect. The panel notes that DI Banks would not have acted this way to a male colleague.
“His behavior towards the DC was sexist and he used a degrading and sexist comment when he hit her on an intimate part of her body.”
Nick Yeo, who represented Mr. Banks, said the incident was “extremely atypical” of the highly acclaimed officer.
He said, “It was literally one-of-a-kind. In 23 years of service, there was a single brief incident on January 3, 2020.”
He told the panel that after a breakthrough in a homicide investigation, Mr. Banks felt exultation and fatigue while coping with difficult personal circumstances as his father was critically ill.
Mr. Yeo added, “Not only was this one-of-a-kind, but it will continue to be a one-off, that is, it will never come back because it was so extraordinarily atypical.”
He highlighted an “unusually strong” set of character references for Mr. Banks, as well as seven recommendations from judges and senior police officers.
“If the panel were to fire these officers, the Kent Police Department would lose an officer with the greatest skill, experience and best behavior,” Yeo continued.
Forwarding the panel results, Miss Harrington said, “After carefully examining all the circumstances … we have very narrowly come to the conclusion that the appropriate sanction is that of a final written warning.”
She added, “However, we emphasize that DI Banks should have no doubt about how serious this body took its wrongdoing and how far it was below the standards of the DI bureau when it acted as we found it on the 3rd have from January 2020.
“The police force has no place for such behavior and we hope we have made this clear in our results.”