Sergeant sacked by Northamptonshire Police over sexual relationship with junior colleague and inneuendo-laden comments
A Northamptonshire Police sergeant had sex with a junior employee half his age who worked in the force's control room as a call handler.
A disciplinary hearing at Wootton Hall that concluded this afternoon was told how Sgt Ian Caffel, 52, and the colleague had engaged in a consenting sexual relationship outside of work but would go out for "hug breaks" during working hours. He also "cooed" at female officers he found attractive and referred to one colleague as "hot cop", the misconduct panel was told. Today force bosses deemed his actions amounted to gross misconduct and dismissed him with immediate effect. They found Sgt Caffel, from Wellingborough, would make "regular sexual innuendos", which he simply dismissed as "banter". Chief Constable Simon Edens said: "I have very carefully considered the evidence in this case. "Some of the statements make direct allegations against Mr Caffel and some make indirect allegations. "There were also e-mails to consider between him and the woman he had sex with. "Mr Caffel has chosen not to be here today but I have not drawn any inference in him not being here. "Those who made statements are clear and correct in what they are saying. They either have direct or indirect sexual connotations. "The reactions of the complainants was mainly of distress. "One of the complainants could not even come into work to feel safe. Mr Edens said he found Caffel's overall account lacked fluency and that, at times, his answers were confusing. Mr Edens said: "At no point did he say the women were lying and later, he said that they were not lying. "He was unaware that he was upsetting people. "He admits the fact that his behaviour was wrong despite the fact that he said he was just engaging in banter." The panel heard Sgt Caffel engaged in the sexual relationship with the control room worker who was aged 23 at the time. The chief constable added: "He was 50, he was the most senior member of staff and she was a junior taking calls. "He said that 'she is a mature young woman who knew what she wanted and got it. She initiated it and he was flattered by the attention."However, the evidence found in the e-mails contradicts his accounts. "He said that they didn't hug at work but they went out for 'hug breaks' at work. "Both she and he are accepting adults but he was in a powerful position financially, [in] rank and authority and did not manage the boundaries between his professional and his private life. "He was unaware of his responsibilities as a leader. The panel found Sgt Caffel had committed gross misconduct. Mr Edens said Sgt Caffel was in a position of authority and used it to exploit colleagues, which caused them to change their behaviour and stop his approaches. "There is no place for anyone here who behaves in this way," Mr Edens said, "because the public trust us with our powers and they expect us to treat them with respect and Mr Caffel did not do this. "I would have no faith that he would learn from this hearing and I am here to protect the public confidence and show that such behaviour will not be tolerated. "Therefore, Mr Caffel is dismissed from the police service without notice. "He will also not be able to continue following a career in policing. "He will have the opportunity to appeal if he wishes to do so." The former sergeant did not attend the tribunal and was instead represented by Police Federation representative Detective Inspector Steve Pace. DI Pace said: "I have talked to Mr Caffel on the phone and he was provided with the opportunity to be here but he failed to attend and so I have no mitigation."