Police officer pursued 'inappropriate relationship' with domestic abuse victim and took wine to her home

Jason Vernon also told suicide survivor he 'fancied' her, misconduct report says

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
@mayaoppenheim
Tuesday 12 March 2019 15:11
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Avon and Somerset said Mr Vernon had breached the 'authority, respect and courtesy standards of professional behaviour' at a hearing
Avon and Somerset said Mr Vernon had breached the 'authority, respect and courtesy standards of professional behaviour' at a hearing

A police officer sent inappropriate messages to a suicide survivor and visited a domestic abuse victim late at night with a bottle of wine, a misconduct panel heard.

Jason Vernon also told one of the women, who he knew had mental health problems, that he “fancied” her.

An Avon and Somerset Police misconduct panel found allegations of gross misconduct by Mr Vernon proven.

The force said he would have been sacked had he not resigned last month.

A misconduct hearing found Mr Vernon had pursued an improper sexual, emotional and/or personal relationship by attending the home of a victim of domestic abuse with a bottle of wine and sending inappropriate messages to another woman.

It said that on 29 April last year he phoned one of the women offering to visit her between 10.30pm and 11pm the next day, saying that he would help her find house and a job and that he would buy her wine “just to be nice”.

He then lied to his manager, saying he was going to collect CCTV evidence but instead visiting the woman while on duty, arriving at her house with the wine at 10.35pm.

Mr Vernon phoned and sent personal emails to another woman, the report said, having accessed information about her on the police computer system and knowing she had mental health problems.

He repeatedly contacted the young woman, who had attempted to take her own life a number of years earlier.

He told her by phone in October 2017 that he “fancied” her and exchanged personal emails with her for three months, including one where he wrote: “Beauty as well as brains I like that in a woman, ha ha ha!”

In another message, he said: “Hopefully you can call me by mistake tomorrow, but I don’t believe you did it by mistake.”

Avon and Somerset found Mr Vernon had breached the “authority, respect and courtesy standards of professional behaviour”, and had “failed to act with proper self-control”.

He will be placed on the College of Policing’s barred list, preventing him from working within policing and certain law enforcement bodies.

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Superintendent Richard Corrigan, head of Avon and Somerset’s professional standards department, said in a statement: “He used his position to pursue and engage in an improper relationship with two women who he met through the course of his professional duties.

“The fact that both women were clearly vulnerable is an aggravating factor.”

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