Northamptonshire Police officer let off with warning for 'falling-down drunk' incident with imitation of ethnic person
An 'exemplary' Northamptonshire Police officer who "got so drunk she fell down in the road" has been let off with a slap on the wrist.
DC 1302 Deborah Dowes was brought in front of a gross misconduct hearing last month over her actions on a night out with colleagues in November.
The night ended with her drunkenly using offensive language, gestures and an 'inappropriate impression' in a public restaurant - all of which the force took as breaching the standards of professional behaviour.
At the hearing on December 4, the panel stated: "The culpability lies squarely with the officer alone. She got so drunk that she fell down in the road and had to be supported by a colleague because she could not stand up on her own.
"None of that does her any credit at all... [but] where it crosses the line is when her conduct included an imitation of a person of another ethnicity.
"However, this was not conduct in an operational capacity; indeed, the public would not have identified her as a police officer at the time."
The panel heard how since the incident DC Dowes had taken full responsibility for how the night ended and shown "real insight" into her behaviour.
Additionally, it was accepted that the "discriminatory" imitation was not directed at anyone or done with a mind to cause harm to anyone present.
The panel ruled the incident was isolated and did not warrant bringing an end to an other "exemplary career".
The panel ruled: "There will be a degree of reputational harm to a Force that rightly takes pride in its progressive attitude to matters of equality and diversity.
"[However] the character references provided are very impressive both in number and content.
"There is no necessity for this isolated aberration to end what has been an exemplary career and true vocation.
"We are confident that this officer will not find herself in this position again.
"The panel determined that the most suitable outcome was a Final Written Warning."