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Decision and Reasons on facts and conduct

(CAMBRIDGESHIRE POLICE) v FORMER POLICE CONSTABLE GEOFF LLOYD

IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE POLICE MISCONDUCT PANEL

CM/121/18

Before:

Miss Siobhan Goodrich (Chair)

Detective Superintendent Ian Middleton

Mr Paul Harvey

 

Heard at the East of England Showground   

On 14, 15, 16 June, and in part via Teams

And fully remote via Teams on 29 June 2021

 

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS DEPARTMENT

(CAMBRIDGESHIRE POLICE)

v

FORMER POLICE CONSTABLE GEOFF LLOYD

 

DECISION AND REASONS ON FACTS AND CONDUCT

 

 

 

 

Representation:

Mr Matthew Holdcroft, counsel, on behalf of the Appropriate Authority

Mr Colin Banham, counsel, on behalf of Mr Lloyd, instructed by Slater Gordon

 

The Regulation 21 Notice

1. The allegation against former officer Mr Lloyd is that he breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in ways that have been set out in the Regulation 21 notice before us and that matters alleged individually or collectively amount to gross misconduct.  

Overview

2. Mr Lloyd retired from the force on 30 December 2018 after 17 years’ service. These proceedings are conducted under the former officer conduct regime pursuant to the amendments to the Police Misconduct Regulations 2012 effected by the Police (Conduct, Complaints and Misconduct and Appeal Tribunal) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

3. We do not relate here the allegations in full. The Regulation 21 Notice, which consists of 18 paragraphs, is appended as Annex 1 to this decision (save that we direct anonymisation  at para 17 (a) to (f)) and redaction at 17 h).

4. In very broad terms, the particulars of allegation relate to Mr Lloyd’s involvement and sexual conduct towards Ms A and Ms B. There are also allegations regarding:  the use of confidential material; the sending or disclosure of confidential/sensitive material to Ms A; the sending of sexualised images (to Ms B); and the improper use of Police computer systems to search for details of a number of individuals, and the targeting of an ex-boyfriend of Ms A.

5. The breaches of Standards of Behaviour are alleged to involve acting without integrity and/or in abuse of his position; Confidentiality, Performance of duties, Orders and Instructions and Discreditable Conduct.

The Timeline to the proceedings

6. This is as follows:  

a)    Information came to the attention of the Police Standards Department (PSD) in June 2018 in the course of an investigation regarding matters which are not before us. Mr Lloyd was arrested for Misconduct in a Public Office and Computer Misuse and interviewed under caution on 30 November 2018. In the course of that investigation, Mr Lloyd’s communication with, and inquiries in respect of, a number of other females was identified. Statements were taken by PSD from Ms A on 12 December 2018 and Ms B on 27 February 2019. In her statement Ms A made an allegation of forced (non-consensual) sex).

b)    A Regulation 15 notice was served on 30 November 2018.

c)    Criminal investigation concluded on 30 April 2019 when the decision was made that the allegations did not meet the evidential test to be sent to the Crown Prosecution (CPS).

d)    Mr Lloyd attended a PSD interview under caution on 8 July 2019. He relied upon his brief pre-prepared statement (page 221 of our bundle), said that he would exercise his right not to answer any further questions and left the interview.

e)    Pursuant to directions given by the panel chair on 2 March 2021 (when the hearing was postponed due to Mr Lloyd’s acute health condition, Mr Lloyd provided his written Response pursuant to Regulation 22 on 7 May 2021. In very broad summary, he denied that he had behaved in any way improperly towards Ms A or Ms B.

f)     A public hearing was directed under Regulation 27A on 16 February 2021 – subject to any application being made.

 

7. There was no objection to anonymity for the AA witnesses. Ms A requested to give evidence in a way that ensured she could not see or be seen by Mr Lloyd. Mr Downes, solicitor for Mr Lloyd with conduct from the date of his instruction in about February 2021, did not object to this. A later request was made by Ms B to give her evidence via Teams.   Mr Downes did not object to Ms B giving her evidence remotely.

 

8. The hearing was due to be heard on 1 March 2021 but was adjourned at Mr Lloyd’s request in the light of medical evidence for reasons given in a decision dated 2 March 2021. The  chair made provision for a pre-hearing meeting to be held well in advance of the adjourned hearing so that any preliminary matters would be considered so as to ensure a clean and timely start at 10am on 14 June 2021.  It was considered important that witnesses were not kept waiting. It was expected that with a clean start, the evidence of Ms A and Ms B would be completed on 14 June 2021.

 

9. Shortly before 5pm on Friday 11 June 2021 the panel chair received by email an application for the proceedings to be held in private, an application which relied on legal submissions and medical evidence (only some of which was then provided).  The chair issued directions.

 

10. On the morning of 14 June, Mr Banham applied for a restriction preventing any member of the public from attending the hearing. He relied on the reports of:

Dr Rodin, Consultant, dated 24 February 2021

Dr Allen, GP, dated 11 June 2021  

Dr Rodin dated 11 June 2021

 

11. It was suggested by Mr Banham that a decision regarding restrictions was a procedural matter for the chair to decide alone. The chair said whilst she recognised the procedural nature of her role, she considered that once a panel was actually sitting any decisions regarding the balance of competing public interests were best considered by the panel as a whole. Neither party disagreed with this approach.

 

12. We considered all the medical evidence very carefully and all the representations made.  It is unnecessary to set out the detail of the medical evidence before us which is summarised in Mr Banham’s helpful written application. We accepted the diagnoses made. We accepted that Mr Lloyd suffers from a disability for which adjustments which are reasonable should be made in line with the Equality Act 2010. In making our decision regarding reasonable adjustments, we took into account the opinions expressed in the reports before us.

 

13. Mr Lloyd contended that his ECHR Article 6 rights would be infringed because he would not receive a fair hearing unless the public were excluded. He relied on medical evidence that supported that a private hearing would be a reasonable adjustment in the context of his disability. Whilst we accorded due weight to the medical diagnoses and the opinions expressed, our task was to balance the public interest in transparency against the risk that Mr Lloyd might be prejudiced in his ability to participate if the public were allowed to attend. The thrust of the medical evidence was to the effect that Mr Lloyd would feel less anxious and would be better able to concentrate and give instructions if the proceedings were held in private. It was not evident from the reports that either practitioner had given consideration to any alternatives such as part exclusion of the public (i.e. when Mr Lloyd gave evidence, if he chose to do so) and/or regular breaks and/or control of the style and scope of questioning.

 

14. We agreed that the fact that the hearing had already been advertised and had already received local press attention should not prevent us from excluding members of the public from the hearing, if we considered that this was the appropriate course. We also agreed that the lack of any interest by the public in physically attending the actual hearing was not a matter that should either preclude an application, or dictate any decision.

 

15. It is relevant to note that any public attendance at police misconduct hearings involves a prior application being made so that ordinary vetting can take place. Given that no member of the public or press had expressed a wish to attend the hearing itself, we did not consider that there was a real risk that anyone would attend at any stage but we recognised that if they did, they would have the right to make representations regarding any proposed exclusion. We decided that we would decide Mr Lloyd’s application if and when any late public or press interest in attending the hearing became evident.

 

16. A second limb of the application was advanced to reflect the interests of Mr Lloyd’s wife and their young child, by reference to Article 8 of the ECHR which is a qualified right. We considered all the matters advanced in the written submissions.

 

17. We were informedthat following his retirement in late December 2018, the Lloyd family settled in a different area of the UK, far distant to Peterborough. Having considered the representations made we considered that the core concern was based in Mrs Lloyd’s wish (on her own behalf and that of her child) not to be identified with Mr Lloyd as the result of the proceedings. It was submitted that anonymization of first names (a “starting-point” measure when seeking to reconcile the balance between private and public interests) was insufficient to protect the interests of Mrs Lloyd and her child. We considered all the merits advanced.

 

18. We were not persuaded that Mrs Lloyd’s professional reputation would be affected by the proceedings being held in public. We could see that there might well be some personal embarrassment from any publicity given that the Lloyd family has relatives and friends in Peterborough.

19. Mr Banham submitted that the rights of the child were engaged because any internet search on her father’s name at any point in the future would reveal the fact of the hearing and any decision made.  

20. We take fully into account and pay special attention to the best interests of the minor child.

21. Reliance was placed on Article 8 of the ECHR in relation to the interests of Mrs Lloyd and her child. We applied the stepwise approach explained in Razgar v SSHD [2004] UKHL 22.  

22. We were not persuaded by Mr Lloyd, and/or by his wife and child (as interested parties) that the right to family and/or private life is necessarily engaged because of possible identification of the former officer to his wife and/or minor child by reason of publicity. In our view the impact on Mrs Lloyd and her child was tenuous given that the family unit now live in a different area. We considered that the issue involved a potential lack of respect rather than any positive interference. We were prepared to assume that Article 8 (2) is engaged regarding private and/or family life for the purpose of considering the issue of necessity and justification, and the ultimate issue of proportionality.

23. We considered that a decision to hold proceedings in public is in accordance with the law and is necessary and justified in pursuit of the public interest in open justice and transparency with regards to allegations of gross misconduct against police officers. We reminded ourselves of the current Home Office Guidance. We recognise that we have a wide discretion to impose restrictions which include preventing or restricting attendance by the public and/or the press.

24. The real issue is proportionality. We balanced the potential effects on Mrs Lloyd and also the potential impacts on her child by Mr Lloyd. Applying the law, we attached very significant weight to the best interests of a minor child. In our view the possible/potential impacts of the hearing being held in public upon the private/family life interests involved are clearly outweighed by the very strong public interest in open proceedings and transparency. We therefore refused the application that the public or press be excluded from the proceedings on the basis that this breached the Article 8 rights of Mrs Lloyd and/or her child.  

25. Given the point originally made on Mr Lloyd’s behalf regarding procedure, I should say that, as chair alone, would have refused this application had it been made earlier and/or if, as a matter of law, the decision is one that properly fell to me alone.

 

Mr Lloyd’s case

26. By way of overview in the statement submitted at the Interview in August 2019 Mr Lloyd stated:

(a)  He had met Ms A when he attended a road traffic collision (in 2008) and she had come to the police station about 6 weeks later to ask to speak to him. His position is that he and Ms A had an “on and off” affair for about 6 years between 2012 and 2018. His case is that the affair began long after he had had dealings with her in his role as a police officer. He said that he treated her like she was his partner and would sometimes talk to her about his work. He denied that the disclosure of sensitive screen shots relating to his work to Ms A was a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour.

(b)   Ms B was known to him as a Security Officer as the Peterborough Hospital. He knew her as a colleague, and as a friend for a short time in 2017. The friendship never developed into a relationship and he terminated his regular contact with her when she was interested in a relationship. He totally denied her account of sexual contact or attempting to kiss her.

(c)   In his first Regulation 22 statement Mr Lloyd provided further details and made some admissions regarding breach of confidentiality. He also provided further details regarding Ms A and Ms B which included:

Re Ms A

“The only time that [Ms A] and I had sex it was initiated by her” (para 4).

Re Ms B

He had known Ms B as a hospital security officer for a number of years before she mentioned her interest in joining the police. He suggested she apply for a Ride-Along scheme and helped her with the application. The allegation that he sent her pictures of himself naked, and one of his penis, was untrue and horrified him. Ms B sent sexualised pictures to him. Ms B never told him that she felt vulnerable, depressed and short of confidence.  She was a very self-confident and flirty person. He did not try to kiss her in his car. The allegation that he had asked her to sit on his lap at the fire station was ludicrous.

 

The Hearing

27. We heard live evidence from Ms A remotely. Having started to hear her evidence, Mr Banham was concerned about the quality of the audio. There was indeed a great deal of feedback and reverberation.  It was unclear if this was due to the Wi-Fi, the device being used by Ms A (in the presence of her solicitor) or the fact that the hearing room was cavernous.  At times, the evidence was clear but then deteriorated. At this point, the questions then being asked by Mr Banham related to the early background of her contact with Mr Lloyd. It was apparent to us that Ms A was increasingly frustrated by being asked questions about what she perceived to be peripheral matters.  She wanted Mr Banham to get to the heart of the issue. Although reception via mobile phone which was then arranged proved more satisfactory, it was clear that her evidence would not be completed by the time she needed to collect her child from school. We directed that Ms A’s evidence be resumed the next morning and that further efforts should be made to assure the quality of the remote arrangements.  At that time it was not clear to us that Ms A would return to resume her evidence the next morning.

 28. There was still plenty of time left on 14 June to hear Ms B’s evidence. Mr Banham objected to her evidence being interposed: he suggested it was unfair and irregular. We decided it was appropriate to interpose Ms B’s evidence. There was no suggestion of any personal connection between the 2 witnesses or any possible contamination. It was important to use the remaining available hearing time because, despite the chair’s earlier direction that the evidence would begin with a clean start at 10 am, this had been significantly delayed by applications that should have been made long before, so as to avoid complications with witnesses and disruption to the proposed timetable.  We did not consider it reasonable or fair to Ms B to hold her evidence over when it had been made clear to her and to all parties that it was intended that her evidence would be heard and completed on 14 June. Fundamentally, we could see no real reason why a fair assessment of Ms B’s evidence would be affected by the fact that Ms A’s evidence had not been completed.

29. Ms A did attend the next day and by mobile connection and Mr Banham resumed his cross examination. The sound quality was clear. There were no material difficulties in hearing all that Ms A said by reason of the technology.  It was open to Mr Banham to explore any area regarding which he had been unsure of the evidence given the previous afternoon.  On 15 June there were, however, some difficulties in trying to ensure that Ms A was allowed to always finish her answer before the next question was put and/or that Mr Banham was able to finish his question before a response was given. We asked counsel and Ms A to adopt “radio discipline” i.e. allowing the question/answer to be to completed, and with a pause, before attempting to answer and/or before moving on to the next question.

30. When Ms A’s evidence was complete we rose so that Mr Banham could confer with his client. The panel said then that, in its own view, it would be unfair to commence Mr Lloyd’s evidence that afternoon given his disability. After this break we were informed that Mr Lloyd wished to give evidence, but that he wished to return to his home with his family and therefore to do so via Teams. We said that we had no difficulty with this. We indicated to Mr Banham that in the light of the medical evidence, suitable support arrangements should be made for Mr Lloyd if he wanted to give evidence remotely, and that we would render any assistance possible.  Mr Banham assured members of the panel that he would ensure that Mr Lloyd’s needs would be discussed with appropriate bodies and suitable arrangements made.

31. The chair explained to Mr Lloyd that it was a matter for him to decide, having been advised by counsel, whether or not he wished to give evidence, and if so, by what means.  She set out again the adjustments that would be applied to facilitate him in giving oral evidence if he chose to do so.  He said he understood these. Neither he nor Mr Banham requested or suggested any other reasonable adjustments. A 9.30am start on 16 June 2021 was directed so as to build in very frequent breaks, whether at Mr Lloyd’s request, or as perceived necessary by the panel. In the event, Mr Lloyd attended the venue in person on 16 June.  At 9.30am a further 10 minutes was requested and granted. The panel was then intercepted by both counsel outside the hearing room.  Mr Banham said that Mr Lloyd had had a bad night and was very anxious.  He might not give evidence.  Mr Banham requested more time to take instructions.  This was granted and the panel retired to await developments.

32. During this period on 16 June 2021, and at the request of Mr Lloyd, we were provided by DS Revell, with an MG11 statement from his wife dated 11 June 2021. We were informed that the AA did not object to the admission of this statement as late evidence. When the hearing resumed it became clear that Mr Lloyd and his wife had already left the premises so the panel had no opportunity to ask questions of Mrs Lloyd.

33. Mr Banham explained Mr Lloyd’s position, including with regard to the amended Reg 22 response which had been provided to us on 14 June. Mr Banham requested that we delete paragraphs 3 and 5.  We agreed to do so.

34. In his amended regulation 22 statement Mr Lloyd accepted that:

(i)            whilst in a relationship with Ms A, he sent her images that were connected with  his work, as follows:

a. A photograph of an unmarked Cambridgeshire Constabulary police vehicle. The registration number of the vehicle was both visible and legible;

b. A photograph of an ambulance incident screen. The details of the patient were both visible and legible – including their name, address, sex and age;

c. A photograph of Webstorm showing a number of incidents. In this photograph the details of the incident caller can be read; including their names, dates of birth and the reasons for the call; and

d. A photograph of a serious road traffic collision in which the driver had sustained serious injuries.

(ii)           On 21 October 2018, he made a disclosure to Ms A that a Polish male had been stabbed to the chest and that he had died in hospital. He knew this was sensitive and should not have been disclosed because he had said to Ms A ‘For your ears only tho, dear.’;

(iii)          He told Ms A that he was targeting her ex-partner, whom he referred to as BBC, and asked for his car registration number. He accepted that he then purported to conduct vehicle checks on the car confirming that it was registered to Ms A’s address but insured at a different address. He also said: ‘My mission over the next couple of weeks is to make sure the fat bald headed cunt with a red warning light on top of him gets thorough nibbled,’; ‘I’ll do a bit of Qashqai hunting too.’:  ‘Did you say BBC will leave the school between half 8 and 9 tomorrow? … Planning my day.’;  ‘BBC is a lot more important that an bloody knife point robbery.’;

(iv)          On 8 November 2018, he stopped the vehicle being driven by Ms A’s ex-partner. He told Ms A in the WA thread that her ex was ‘white as a sheet, flashing red light on … dazzled my rear reds on the police car … He didn’t try to use your address,  tho, but I will be forwarding his new address to DVLA so they can prosecute him.’; (sic)

(v)           He misused Cambridgeshire Police computer systems to search for himself and his (present) wife.    

35. We find all those facts proved. Mr Lloyd accepted that all of the matters above amount to breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour regarding: Confidentiality, Performance of duties, Orders & Instructions and Discreditable Conduct.

 

Our Consideration of the Evidence and Further Findings of Fact

36. The core issue is whether the AA has established, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Lloyd acted in the manner alleged against him. In considering all the evidence in this case we reminded ourselves throughout that the AA bears the burden of establishing the allegations made from first to last. Mr Lloyd is not required to prove anything.  The burden of proof can only be discharged if the AA satisfies us to the appropriate standard that he acted in the manner alleged.

37. The standard of proof in these proceedings is the civil standard, i.e. the balance of probabilities. This is explained in the Home Office Guidance, Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures (June 2018)  at paras 2.264-2.266. In the context of this case we have considered In re B (Children) [2008] UKHL 35 and In re D [2008] UKHL 33 and, in particular, reminded ourselves of what Lord Carswell said at paragraph 28 of In re D regarding the need for critical and anxious scrutiny. 

38. We agree with Mr Banham about the caution to be applied when considering proof of facts in issue.  We considered the allegations made by each witness separately, focusing on the evidence relevant to the allegations made by each witness, the written evidence of Mr Lloyd, and his good character.

Character direction

39. We directed ourselves as to Mr Lloyd’s good character on the basis that it was relevant both to the assessment of his credibility, and also that his good character may make it less likely that he would have behaved in the manner alleged.   

40. We drew no adverse inference from the fact that Mr Lloyd did not answer questions in the interview conducted on 8 July 2019 or the fact that he did not give evidence before us. We bore fully in mind the medical evidence before us and took into account the fact of his disability when considering the differences between his statement and his subsequent Regulation 22 responses.

41. When considering allegations concerning alleged events said to have occurred many years ago, we bore fully in mind the potential impact of the passage of years on Mr Lloyd’s ability to recollect events and defend himself against very serious allegations.  We also considered the real possibility that evidence might be no longer available due to the passage of time, which might have shed light on events.

42. We also considered the evidence as to why the allegations before us were not made at the time of the events complained of.

 

Our Consideration and Findings of Fact

43. We do not intend to deal with every aspect of the evidence in dispute but we focus on the key elements. In so far as we do not refer to particular parts of the evidence or submissions it should not be assumed that we have not considered or taken these into account.

Ms A

44. In our view there are two important pieces of contemporaneous evidence that shed light on the relationship and the factual issues in dispute between Ms A and Mr Lloyd:

    • The 4 texts said (by both parties) to have been exchanged in 2015 (“the 2015 texts”)
    • The 2018 WhatsApp (WA) thread

45. The 2015 texts were not in the bundle before us but were introduced late at the specific request of Mr Lloyd. The texts needs to be considered in the context that there would have been other messages, texts and other communications both before and after the 2015 texts summited.

46. There are a number of obvious caveats which need to be applied to the WA thread. Firstly, the54 pages before us start at 12.41 on 19 October 2018. It seems clear that other WA messages probably existed before this date. We also find it is probable that there were other text messages and/or conversations in addition to WA thread. It seems that WA contact ceased on or about 27 November 2018. This issue is what, applying these caveats, the WA thread reveals in terms of the nature of the relationship, and how, if at all, Mr Lloyd’s position as a police officer was relevant.  

47. We accept that in the WA thread, Mr Lloyd was persistent in his offer to give Ms A £5000 or £3000 from his lump sum when he retired, even though she made it very clear she did not want any money from him.

48. Mr Lloyd had said in his statement in his first Regulation 22 response that the confidential police information that he sent to Ms A was in the context that he was sharing his working life with his “partner” with whom he had had an on and off sexual relationship for six years. However, his case as per para 4 of his first Regulation 22 was that he and Ms A had consensual sexual intercourse on one occasion only.

49. Ms A’s evidence was that after the incident in August 2015 of which she complains (regarding her lack of consent to intercourse), Mr Lloyd telephoned her sister and suggested that Ms A had mental health issues.

50. It was suggested in cross examination that Ms A was motivated by a potential compensation claim because Mr Lloyd had promised her part of his lump sum on retirement and she was disappointed when this did not materialise. Her response was very robust.  We find that, as shown in the WA thread, she had repeatedly said she did not want any part of his lump sum. The effect of her evidence was that he had used his offer of part of his lump sum to try and control her, but she had never been interested.   She also said he was always putting money through her letter box, but she did not want it.  She felt that this was an attempt by Mr Lloyd to exert control over her. She had been frightened that he would report her to social services. He had told her that that he done this to another young woman who was also a single mother with whom he was in contact, but whom he had  decided to block (on his mobile phone) because she was contacting him too much.  Ms A’s account is consistent with the WA thread.

51. We accept Ms A’s evidence that at times she felt lonely and vulnerable and her life revolved around her children. We accept her evidence that Mr Lloyd’s friendship with her was mainly at times when she was living alone. We consider that she felt
dependent on him and was grateful to him for all the help he had given her.  In our view the control that Mr Lloyd had over Ms A, and the nature of the relationship, explain why she carried on trying to humour him, and why she did not make any complaint to the police in 2015 or thereafter- until the police arrived at her door.    

52. Ms A’s evidence was that Mr Lloyd had told her that he was single but that he had a past relationship with someone which he said was not happy, and that this person wanted to continue the relationship. This is borne out by the WA thread.

53. It was a telling moment in evidence when it became apparent in the course of Mr Banham’s cross examination that Ms A was unaware that Mr Lloyd was in fact married to this lady (his present wife). We accept that Ms A had no idea that Mr Lloyd was married. We noted that there is no evidence in the 2015 messages or in the WA thread that indicates that Ms A knew that Mr Lloyd had a young child.

54. There was very little hard evidence before us regarding Mr Lloyd’s life. We have no direct evidence as to his background before joining the police service but understand from cross examination that he had connections with the Army. We do know from the WA thread that he told Ms A that he had adult children by earlier relationship(s)/marriage(s). We do not know when he married his present wife. We noted that in her statement dated 11 June 2021 his wife did not provide any dates regarding her life with Mr Lloyd.

55. When considering Mrs Lloyd’s evidence as to her husband’s character we note that she does not say that she is aware of the allegations made. This has the potential to affect the weight that we can attach to her character evidence. Although the proceedings were held in public, Mrs Lloyd, who sat outside the hearing venue, did not attend the hearing. The thrust of her written evidence is that Mr Lloyd is very caring and helpful to everyone, and has been devastated by the allegations made.

56. It was suggested to Ms A (by Mr Banham) that she and Mr Lloyd had an on and off sexual relationship over 6 years. Ms A’s robust response was this was “only in his head”.   She stoutly maintained that the sexual side of their relationship was only over a matter of weeks from in or about August 2015, which she had soon regretted, and which had ended when he had forced himself upon her. We noted that in the 2015 text on 7 October Mr Lloyd said this to Ms A;

 “…I really thought we were together 2 months ago and thought at last, after 6 years things were beginning to work. X I never gave up hope But I don’t think ul ever really want me, and I’m always afraid of you changing again, anyway x I think so much of you, that it just hurts more to have contact like this and not be with u. so I’ll do what you suggest and go the other route now. I’m no good at being alone. I know what I want bur I guess it won’t happen now…. “(sic)

57. It seems clear to us that Mr Lloyd was living a complex life.  To use Mr Banham’s expression Mr Lloyd was “besotted” with Ms A. Of course, we are not concerned with  seeking to comment on the relationships which are part of the factual matrix before us. Our task is to make findings on the disputed allegations.

58. It was submitted by Mr Banham that Ms A’s evidence was inconsistent because she did not describe in her statement dated 12 December 2018 all the detail she provided in answer to his questions. She told us in very clear and consistent terms that officers had arrived at her door unannounced and asked her about her relationship with Mr Lloyd. She said that when she responded to the question posed about whether she had had a sexual relationship with Mr Lloyd, the officers had then stopped her from giving any detail. They told her that this aspect of her evidence would need to be recorded in a video statement.

59. We agree that Ms A’s statement in these proceedings did not set out all the detail she gave in oral evidence. She did, however, make plain in her December 2018 statement that there was an occasion when sexual intercourse occurred that she did not want.  This additional detail in her oral evidence included that the incident had lasted hours throughout which Mr Lloyd physically manhandled her.

60. Ms A’s explanation was that she was told by the officers not to continue with her account because it would be inappropriate for her to give her account of the rape in her own home. She would need to make a video statement in different setting. She told us that she was eventually asked to take part in a video interview.

61. Ms A’s evidence was that everything she had told us had been set out in her evidence in the separate rape investigation and in detail.  We consider that it accords with common sense and appropriate practice that Ms A was advised by officers to stop giving any further detail when disclosing a serious sexual assault in her own home. Her evidence was very clear that she had given the same account in the police video as she had given in her oral evidence to us, and that the only reason she did not provide all the detail in her December 2018 statement was because she had been advised not to so by the officers who took that statement. We consider that her explanation was credible. (We should add that we are not concerned with any unused material unless a point has been raised that requires a ruling. No such application had been raised).

62. We asked ourselves whether it is credible that Ms A would still see Mr Lloyd as a friend and maintain contact with him after August 2015, despite her account of rape.  We noted that in her statement in December 2018 she said that she could understand why he had thought it was OK, because she and Mr Lloyd had had sexual intercourse about two weeks before. She agreed in oral evidence that there had been other incidents of sexual touching that she had not described in her December 2018 statement.  However, she maintained very strongly that the sexual relationship had been short-lived and had ended on that last occasion when, from her perspective, she had been forced to submit to sexual intercourse when she said it was obvious that she did not want it.

63. Ms A did not make a complaint to the Police in 2015. The police came to her in 2018 and not the other way round. We consider it very improbable that she made up a story about Mr Lloyd when answering their questions.  We consider it very unlikely that she would have agreed to put herself through the ordeal of going back over her past, and attending this hearing, unless her account was true.

64. We find that Mr Lloyd’s account that the “relationship” only began in 2012 is inconsistent with the 2015 texts where he refers to 6 years (i.e. 2009). We consider it probable that Mr Lloyd was interested in Ms A soon after he first met her. We should say that we do not consider that the warning notices issued in 2013 and 2014 or the BCH policy “Abuse of Authority for sexual/emotional gain & Professional Boundaries” published in 2017 has significant traction in this case in terms of Orders and Instructions given that the “relationship” with Ms A began well before the warnings/guidance were issued. We consider that the evidence that Ms A had (apart from a period of some weeks in August 2015) viewed this “relationship” as one of BFF (i.e. Best Friends Forever) is amply shown in WA thread.

65. In our view Ms A was a credible and compelling witness. We accept her evidence.

Ms B

66. We agree with Mr Banham that the alleged circumstances re Ms B are different. We agree that the credibility of Ms B’s evidence should be viewed quite separately i.e. unaffected by our findings with regard to Ms A.

67. The main issues in dispute are:

a)    Whether, and to what extent, Mr Lloyd knew Ms B before the Ride-Along  scheme was mentioned.

b)    By whom was the Ride-Along suggested.

c)    What was the context of the relationship prior to the Ride-Along? Did Mr Lloyd’s touch her knee and try to kiss her when she sat in his car having a coffee he had brought to her, when she was on duty.

d)    What were the arrangements on the day of the Ride-Along. 

e)    What happened that day.

 

68. Ms B was employed as a security officer at the local hospital. Her evidence was to the effect that she first met Mr Lloyd in late 2016 when they were both involved with a patient (under arrest) awaiting care. They chatted. She told him she was interested in joining the police service. He told her about the Ride-Along scheme. He offered to help her complete the forms for the Ride-Along scheme.

69. Her evidence was that within a couple of weeks Mr Lloyd sent text massages asking her how she was, to which she replied. He would then turn up at the hospital with coffee for her and to chat.  She did not think anything of this and thought he must have just been in the area.  

70. Ms B said that during these chats she told him that she was having difficulties in her personal life. She said that shortly after this the texts sent by Mr Lloyd became suggestive, written in a way that could be read as sexual and hinting “at stuff”.  She took it that he wanted a relationship that was more than a friendship. She made it clear in her statement that they began to exchange sexual pictures and Mr Lloyd sent her a picture of his penis. 

71. She said Mr Lloyd also sent her pictures of him with a young girl, who he said was his daughter. He told her that he lived in a gated community on his own and that he had had an affair with a young lady by whom he had this daughter. She thought that Mr Lloyd was single.

72. In her statement Ms B described an occasion when Mr Lloyd visited the hospital with coffee for her.  He was wearing his police shirt and trousers and was in a vehicle with a grey insignia on it. She said she sat in the passenger seat and Mr Lloyd placed his hand on her knee, squeezed it and left it there. He then attempted to kiss her. She said she backed away saying that she was at work and there were cameras around. He said words to the effect “maybe next time” which she half laughed at, feeling uncomfortable. After this the messages became less frequent.

73. Eventually a date was set for the Ride-Along which took place in about February/March 2017.

74. It is suggested by Mr Banham that there had been no reason for Mr Lloyd to view Ms B as a vulnerable young woman.  We do not accept this. On Mr Lloyd’s own case he had received pictures (unsolicited) intimate pictures from a female in her twenties.  As a police officer of many years’ experience, this alone should have raised significant alarm bells about her vulnerability.

75. In his written evidence Mr Lloyd said he was allocated the Ride-Along. We consider that if he had not wanted to do a Ride-Along with Ms B for whatever reason he could, and should, have said so to his sergeant.

76. In our view it is odd that Mr Lloyd took Ms B to an unmanned Fire station so he could complete paperwork. He, along with other officers, may well have been in the habit of doing paperwork in the unmanned Fire station but we ask ourselves why did he place himself in a potentially compromising position with a young woman who, on his case, as per his interview statement (para 12) was sexually interested in him?  

77. Mr Banham submitted that the additional detail provided by Ms B in her oral evidence that someone arrived at the station undermined her credibility because it had not been included in her statement. We noted she had said in her statement that there was no one else there when they arrived. We noted also that it was not her evidence that this person was present in the room when she had refused Mr Lloyd’s request to sit on his lap.

78. We found that Ms B was a straightforward, credible and consistent witness. She answered the questions put to her in simple and clear terms. We find that when Mr Lloyd behaved as he did at the fire station she was able to recognise the invitation for what it was, and managed to extricate herself from a very uncomfortable situation.

79. Ms B did not make any complaint about Mr Lloyd’s conduct to the Police. We accept her evidence that she did not do so because she wanted to be a police officer and did not think her account, versus that of a police officer, would be believed.

80. When Ms B was approached by the police in 2019 she answered their questions, provided a statement and agreed to give evidence. She was a credible and compelling witness. We find that her account is true and reliable.

 

Use of police computer systems

81. In his amended Regulation 22 notice Mr Lloyd admitted that he misused the police computer systems when he conducted searches in respect of his own name and that of his present wife. We have considered the audit evidence in respect of a number of other named individuals carefully.

82. We agree with Mr Banham that caution needs to be applied if, as here, the evidence for improper searches relies on inferences that might be drawn from the accuracy of records regarding duty times and rest days.   Officers can, and do, work on “designated” rest days and do work longer than the hours rostered.  We also accept that it can be very difficult for a former officer to recall his policing purpose in respect of searches on a member of the public conducted many years ago.  We agree that, in principle, Mr Lloyd could have raised a request for the Investigating Officer to investigate his stated policing purpose, but the utility of this depends on him having some useful memory of what the purpose might have been in the first place. Mr Lloyd was a response officer so it is not hard to envisage that there would have been occasions that he might well have conducted searches against the name of a member of the public in the course of his duties or even related searches of relatives, even when he was not the Office in Charge of any investigation.

83. We consider that the allegations made at paragraph 17 a, b, c, d, e and f have not been proved on the balance of probabilities.  

 

Summary

84. We find all of the facts alleged in the Regulation 21 notice proved with the exception of paragraph 17 a, b, c, d, e, f.

Breaches of Standards

85. Having found the facts we considered which breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour have been established.  In his amended Regulation 22 response Mr Lloyd admitted that his conduct breached standards in relation to Confidentiality, Orders and Instructions, Duties and Responsibilities, and Discreditable Conduct.

86. The sections of the Standards that we consider most relevant are as follows:

Integrity:Police officers… act with integrity and do not compromise or abuse their position.

      Orders and Instructions: Police officers abide by police regulations.

Confidentiality: Police officers treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of police duties.

Discreditable Conduct:

Police officers behave in a manner which does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence, whether on or off duty.

A police officer must keep in mind at all times that the public expect them to maintain the highest standards of behaviour. They must, therefore, always think about how a member of the public may regard your behaviour, whether on or off duty.

Discredit can be brought on the police service by an act itself or because public confidence in the police is undermined. In general, it should be the actual underlying conduct of the police officer that is considered under the misconduct procedures, whether the conduct occurred on or off duty.

87. We recognise that there is an overlap between the standards in relation to the facts established. Mr Lloyd has made admissions to breaches of the Standards and we accept them – in so far as they go. We consider the gravamen of the facts we have found shows that Mr Lloyd’s underlying conduct was in breach of the standard requiring integrity, and was also Discreditable Conduct.  In short, he abused his position of trust in relation to two vulnerable women. He did not do “the right thing” by either Ms A or Ms B. His conduct is such as to discredit the police service and undermine public confidence in it.

88. Mr Lloyd’s use of police systems to disclose sensitive information to Ms A also involved breach ofthe Data Protection Act 1988 as amended.

Characterisation of the Facts and Breaches proved

89. We have considered all the material placed before us. We find that Mr Lloyd’s conduct fell seriously below the standards reasonably to be expected of a Police Officer. In these proceedings he made some admissions, albeit in a limited context. The evidence of Ms A and Ms B was very strongly disputed by him.

90. Having found which allegations have been proved we draw conclusions relevant to the characterization of Mr Lloyd’s behaviour, including consideration of aggravating and mitigating features.  It is at this stage that we consider whether there is a pattern.  Whilst the facts and circumstances of Ms A and Ms B were different, we consider that the facts proved show a common theme. We find that Mr Lloyd used his uniform and status as a police officer to develop and pursue relationships with two women who were each very much younger than himself, and each of whom he knew to be vulnerable.

91. The relationship with Ms A was complex. He used the fact that he was a police officer to further his wish to be accepted by her as a partner (i.e. by the stopping of her ex-boyfriend in 2018).  He used his powers as a police officer to present himself to her as a “hero”.  He also used the power of his office so as to deter any complaint by Ms A and to seek to control her.

92. Mr Lloyd was aware of Ms B’s vulnerability but he took the opportunity of a Ride-Along to make further sexual advances to her in premises used by the police. She was also in a vulnerable position because she wanted to join the police service. In short, he used his role as a police officer to try and take advantage of Ms B’s wish to join the service in pursuit of his own ends.

93. So far as mitigating features are concerned when assessing the seriousness of the misconduct, there is no evidence before us of any insight or remorse regarding the allegations we have found proved in respect of either Ms A or Ms B.

94. In our view the facts we have found proved are very serious.   

95. At this stage we must consider the totality of the breaches admitted or proved. We consider that the nature of the breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour by Mr Lloyd are such that his misconduct is properly to be characterized as Gross: i.e. behaviour which, viewed objectively is so serious that, if he were a serving officer, dismissal without notice would be justified.

96. We will now proceed to hear submissions regarding the appropriate outcome in the context of the former officer regime.  

 

Siobhan Goodrich

Chair  

Police Misconduct Panel

16 July 2021

Annex 1:  available here

 

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