Northumbria Police officer dismissed for gross misconduct after ‘abusing his position for a sexual purpose’

A Northumbria Police officer has been dismissed for abusing his position for “sexual purpose” after sending inappropriate messages to a vulnerable woman whom he met while dealing with an incident of domestic abuse.

PC Callum McLennan has been dismissed without notice after being found guilty of gross misconduct as he attempted to pursue a relationship with the woman who had reported the incident.

The disciplinary panel, which concluded on Monday (September 5), heard that PC McLennan sent “personal and unprofessional messages” to the woman between 4 and 27 February 2021.

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found that the messages were “leading” and included personal statements with the use of kisses and reference to his own private life and relationship status.

Northumbria Police officer PC Callum McLennan has been dismissed after being found guilty of gross misconduct.

PC McLennan also "appears to have encouraged” the woman to contact him on Facebook.

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The panel heard how the police officer had initially used text messages as a way to update the woman on the outcome of the incident he had attended.

However, during interview, PC McLennan admitted after meeting the woman in a professional capacity, he had attempted to develop a relationship with her through text messages.

IOPC Regional Director Thea Walton said: “Police officers are held to high standards when it comes to their interactions with members of the public and they are expected to conduct themselves professionally. When police officers or staff abuse their position for a sexual purpose this is serious corruption and it has absolutely no place in policing.

“PC McLennan’s actions were unacceptable and this case is yet another example of how our work is helping tackle the problem. But, ultimately, we need all police forces to act to root out this kind of behaviour and this will require a zero tolerance approach backed up by decisive and consistent action from those in charge.

“We are always incredibly grateful to the brave people who speak out about the inappropriate behaviour they have experienced or witnessed. We want people to feel empowered to speak up if they believe an officer has acted inappropriately.”

Investigators analysed mobile phones and obtained statements from other police officers who attended the initial incident, as well as the officer’s line manager.

The investigation started in April 2021 after the IOPC received a conduct referral from Northumbria Police. In October 2021 the IOPC decided that PC McLennan should face gross misconduct proceedings.