Police are considering “legal options” after a new officer was not fired despite urinating in a shop fitting room while drunk off-duty and then lying about it.
Pc Amelia Shearer was found guilty at a disciplinary hearing of gross misconduct following the incident at the York branch of Urban Outfitters, but the panel stopped short of ruling she should be sacked.
The 24-year-old was instead given a final written warning lasting for five years, which the panel’s legally qualified chair, Ogheneruona Iguyovwe, said was a serious sanction.
But Chief Constable Mark Webster of Cleveland Police, which Pc Shearer joined as a junior in 2019, said her actions were “incompatible” with his expectations of those who serve in the force.
Urban Outfitters, York Google Maps
The police chief said he was “concerned” about the outcome of the hearing and “legal options” were being considered over the case.
He said: “Officers must adhere to the highest standards of behaviour and exemplify our values, whether on or off duty.
“The actions of this officer are incompatible with my expectations for those who serve in Cleveland and out of keeping with their role, which other officers uphold with pride and integrity.
“Cleveland Police’s Department of Standards and Ethics prepare evidence for misconduct hearings. Evidence is heard and a determination made by a panel chaired by an independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC).
“The misconduct process is in place to protect our standards and ensure public confidence in policing so we are concerned by the outcome determined at yesterday’s hearing. We are now considering the legal options available to us.”
Pc Shearer was described as “excellent” by her superior, Inspector Christian Duree, despite the force accusing her of lying to him when she gave him an “abridged version” of events the day after the incident last September.
Police are considering “legal options” after a new officer was not immediately fired despite urinating in a shop fitting room Nick Potts
In less than four hours, she and a friend had a bottomless brunch at a bar, downing half a bottle of prosecco and three cocktails, before having a Jack Daniels and Coke at another venue.
A member of staff gave evidence to say Pc Shearer asked if the store had toilets, was told “no”, but immediately went into a cubicle without any clothes to try on.
The employee radioed for his manager and when the officer came out, they saw a pool of what smelled like urine on the floor.
She hurriedly left the shop but was tracked down later in the city by police.
Pc Shearer strenuously denied urinating but did acknowledge she and her friend were “loud and giggly”.
The retailer paid £492 to have the cubicle professionally cleaned and the store’s nine fitting rooms had to be closed afterwards, the hearing at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium had heard.
Olivia Checa-Dover, representing the force, told the panel its findings that the probationer had been dishonest meant she was now “undeployable” as an officer.
As she lied while being questioned on oath, that would have to be disclosed to defence lawyers in any future investigations she carried out, the barrister said.
Joan Smith, for Pc Shearer, had urged the panel to take the unusual step of not immediately sacking her given her good references about progress during her first year on the job.
Ms Smith said: “There is a place for her in Cleveland Police and there is the potential for her to flourish in this police force with the appropriate guidance.”
Ms Iguyovwe said allegations of discreditable conduct and breaches of honesty and integrity were proven.
But after deliberating for several hours on Wednesday afternoon, the panel pulled back from ruling she should be fired immediately.
Pc Shearer, who studied a Masters in criminal investigations before achieving her childhood dream of joining the force, wept when she heard the outcome.