Dorset

Dorset detective fired for sexual misconduct

Dorset Police HQ at Winfrith
Image caption The three-day hearing took place at Dorset Police headquarters at Winfrith

A detective who made unwanted sexual advances towards a colleague has been fired.

A disciplinary panel heard Nick Gravenor, a detective constable at Dorset Police, went to the woman's flat where he sexually assaulted her.

In the months before the attack in 2015 he made sexual remarks to her while at work and touched her inappropriately, the panel heard.

He was found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed without notice.

The three-day hearing at Dorset Police headquarters in Winfrith was told Gravenor, who is married and spent almost 20 years with the force, had won the trust of his victim.

Gravenor told the woman he found her attractive, complimented her on having a "nice bum" and made comments about what he enjoyed sexually, the panel heard.

'Contradictory accounts'

The victim had been vulnerable on the day of the sexual assault after the recent end of a relationship and a bereavement, the hearing was told.

She described Gravenor kissing her against her will, lifting her on to the breakfast bar and removing her top and bra before he touched her inappropriately on a sofa bed.

Barrister Charles Apthorp said the detective's actions were "unconsented" and left the victim "scared she would be raped".

Chair of the hearing, Sally-Ann Olsen-Ling, read part of a transcript of the victim's testimony in which she described "feeling like a dog" as she tried to ward off the officer's advances.

The woman confided in friends and family on the day of the attack - both on the phone and in Facebook messages - but did not report it for almost three years.

She said she had been afraid she would not be believed but decided to report the officer after hearing a colleague praising Gravenor.

Ms Olsen-Ling said the length of time it took for her to report the attack did not diminish her credibility and her evidence had been consistent throughout.

She added that Gravenor provided "contradictory accounts".

She said the detective's attack had left a "serious psychological impact" on the victim who had "lost trust in male police officers".

Gravenor was cleared of using the police database to make an unauthorised search about the victim.

Following the hearing, Deputy Chief Constable David Lewis said: "This case demonstrates that we will not hesitate to take action against the tiny minority of officers who fail to maintain the high standards that we set and fall below what is expected of them in terms of professional behaviour."

Dorset Police said the matter had been the subject of a "full and appropriate investigation" and following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service no charges were brought.

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