Police officer faces disciplinary hearing for taking colleague's biscuits and lying about it

Scotland Yard lawyer claims it showed a 'fundamental lack of integrity'

Harriet Agerholm
Tuesday 20 February 2018 12:45
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Metropolitan Police Constable Thomas Hooper, who is based at Kingston Operational Command Unit in south-west London, allegedly took the biscuits from a storage cupboard
Metropolitan Police Constable Thomas Hooper, who is based at Kingston Operational Command Unit in south-west London, allegedly took the biscuits from a storage cupboard

A police officer has appeared at a disciplinary hearing accused of taking a tin of biscuits belonging to a colleague.

Metropolitan Police Constable Thomas Hooper, who is based at Kingston Operational Command Unit in south-west London, allegedly took the biscuits from a storage cupboard on 7 May 2016 and then lied about it.

Representing the force, lawyer Charles Apthorp said Mr Hooper would have been aware this was inappropriate and had shown a “fundamental lack of integrity”.

Mr Apthorp told a misconduct hearing the hearing was not just about the issue of the biscuits, but whether his conduct amounted to a breach of professional standards.

“The appropriate authority’s perspective is that it is not the value of what was taken, it is what was done,” he said. “It shows clear evidence of misappropriation of property. The officer was aware it belonged to someone else and the officer has taken it.”

The tribunal heard Mr Hooper was intending to share the biscuits and offered to replace them. He denies two allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour.

He is also accused of applying for a fixed penalty notice to be cancelled after he drove at 51 miles per hour in a 30 mile-per-hour zone while on duty.

The Met Police claim he needlessly drove a police vehicle in response mode.

Mr Hooper’s lawyer said the incident occurred when he was transporting a patient from a mental health unit to the police station.

The vehicle’s air-conditioning had broken and the patient had been sick, which turned the police van into a health hazard, the tribunal was told.

Panel chairman Naheed Asjad said the public would be concerned about the value of the complaint about the biscuits and she asked Sarah Blake, who was an inspector at the time: “You have a sergeant and an inspector and a box of biscuits that have gone missing and the only thing you can come up with is to refer the matter to DPS [Directorate of Professional Standards]?”

Ms Blake replied that “the option of going to the DPS was because of the gravity of the incident”.

When Ms Asjad pointed out an offer had been made to replace the biscuits, Ms Blake said: “By that time the biscuits had been eaten and, in my mind, theft is theft. How was he going to put the biscuits back?”

The hearing continues.

Press Association contributed to this report

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