A West Yorkshire police officer cleared in court of perverting justice after allegedly telling a drug dealer to wipe her fingerprints off a box containing cannabis has been sacked without notice nearly a year later.
Pc Toni Darroch, who was found not guilty in a trial at Leeds Crown Court last year over the incident at a hairdressing salon in Wakefield, was dismissed after a two-day misconduct hearing held by the force last month.
She was accused of breaching the force’s standards of professional behaviour in categories including ‘honesty and integrity’, ‘respect and courtesy’ and ‘discreditable conduct’.
A statement on the force’s website said: “After a two-day hearing the charges against PC Darroch for honesty and integrity, duties and responsibilities, confidentiality and discreditable conduct were proved. As a result the officer was dismissed from the force without notice.”
Pc Darroch wept with relief in the dock as the unanimous not guilty verdict was announced at the end of her criminal trial in October last year. She denied being deliberately dishonest during the incident in August 2013.
Prosecutors claimed PC Darroch had told a convicted drug dealer to remove her fingerprints from a lunchbox containing £200 worth of cannabis before saying she would “forget anyhting ever happened.”
She was alleged to have taken the drugs with her before instructing a police community support officer to make a false entry about the incident on a police log.
After the case, Aaron Horsfall, of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said on behalf of the officer: “PC Darroch has had a very difficult and traumatic 14 months since her arrest.
“She has maintained her innocence from the start and is delighted with the verdict. She now looks forward to getting back to the position that she holds with West Yorkshire Police.”
According to West Yorkshire Police, the subject of the hearing was an incident where “the officer attended a call of a person involved in dealing drugs”.
A statement on its website said: “It is alleged that the officer failed to deal with the matter in line with the standards expected and did not follow up on the report professionally through providing misleading information.
“The officer was charged with a criminal offence of attempting to pervert the Course of Justice and was found not guilty at Court.”
Since the start of May police forces nationwide have been told to hold misconduct hearings involving their officers in public. Three of Yorkshire’s four forces now reveal details of previous hearings held before May on their websites.
Earlier this year, a Humberside Police officer who assaulted two men was sacked in the first public hearing of its kind in the region. Pc Andrew Leggott assaulted two men when he was among officers called to a disturbance in Scunthorpe.