Posted: Tue 28th Mar 2023

Gross misconduct proven against a former North Wales police officer who abused his position for sexual gain

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Mar 28th, 2023

A former North Wales Police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

PC John Kelham was investigated for engaging in an inappropriate personal or sexual relationship with a vulnerable victim of crime he had met through his duties while investigating two separate incidents in 2021.

The IOPC’s investigation found that PC Kelham had persistently tried to convince the woman to take their relationship further, requesting that she meet him on numerous occasions, and making it clear that he was seeking intimate contact with her.

In messages to the woman, he made many sexualised or lewd remarks, referred repeatedly to her appearance or clothing, and sent suggestive photographs of himself.

The investigation concluded that PC Kelham had breached professional behavior standards, and that he would have been dismissed had he not already resigned from the North Wales Police in March 2022.

The disciplinary hearing, which was held at North Wales Police headquarters and conducted by an independent, legally qualified chair, found that PC Kelham had abused his position by pursuing an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable woman.

The outcome of the hearing serves to highlight that such behavior will not be tolerated and has no place in policing, according to IOPC Director David Ford.

“Police officers are expected to conduct themselves professionally at all times and are rightly held to certain standards when it comes to their interactions with members of the public.”

“Such conduct can cause substantial damage to public trust and confidence in the police and is particularly serious where the subject of the officer’s behavior is targeted towards a vulnerable person,” he said.

North Wales Police also conducted a separate investigation into PC Kelham’s conduct, which was dealt with at the same misconduct hearing.

During 2021 and 2022 the former Constable provided two untruthful written statements in respect of the investigation into his conduct and continued to have contact with the female despite being instructed to cease contact by a senior officer on two separate occasions.

The disciplinary panel, which was chaired by Stephen Gowland, found that former PC Kelham has breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour relating to Honesty and Integrity, Authority, Respect and Courtesy, Duties and Responsibilities, Discreditable Conduct, and Orders and Instructions.

Deputy Chief Constable Richard Debicki said: “Cases where officers have abused their position for sexual purposes are amongst the most serious matters that we investigate, and the conduct of this officer sadly fell way below what both the public and the force expects.

“It is clear from this former officer’s behaviour during the course of the initial IOPC investigation that he had a total disregard towards authority and continued to abuse his position as a police officer.

“Behaviour of this kind undermines the efforts of the majority of people who work for North Wales Police to build and retain the trust and confidence of our communities.

“The public has a right to expect police officers to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and that those who fail to do so are investigated and dealt with robustly.

PC Kelham has been be placed on the police barred list.

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