Rushden police officer sacked for inappropriate sexual relationship with vulnerable victim

Pettinger has been dismissed without notice following the hearing
Pettinger has been dismissed without notice following the hearing

A Northamptonshire Police officer who admitted having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a vulnerable person has been dismissed without notice.

PC Antony Pettinger, 35, a local officer based in Rushden, appeared before the Chief Constable for a fast track hearing today (Thursday).

He admitted that between February 2015 and March 2016 he had formed the inappropriate relationship with the victim after attending her address following a call she had made for police assistance.

In a professional standards interview, he accepted that he should not have formed the personal relationship and that it was wrong.

Further allegations against Pettinger were found proven relating to sending inappropriate pictures of himself to the victim, visiting her while on duty as well as searching and accessing confidential information relating to the woman and another individual without a policing purpose.

The officer accepted that he had displayed a poor error in judgement.

In mitigation, he was described as a ‘commended officer with a previously unblemished, thirteen years front line career.’

However the chairman of the hearing ruled that the proven allegations grossly breached the standards of behaviour expected of a police officer and he was dismissed without notice.

On delivering the outcome, Chief Constable Simon Edens, said: “You consciously and deliberately crossed the boundary between your role as a police officer – there to protect people from harm, and your personal life.

“This was an abuse of your position as a constable.

“You breached this standard by failing to act with self-control by pursuing an improper personal relationship, you abused your power and she was vulnerable to that abuse.

“You presented a huge risk to public confidence in the police.

“Northamptonshire Police’s purpose is to protect people from harm and we rely on public consent to deliver that purpose.

“Our standards underpin the relationship needed to maintain that consent.

“You grossly breached those standards.”

Pettinger has 10 working days to issue an appeal in writing if he wishes.