Portishead police officer sacked for ‘harassing’ love rival
PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 December 2016
A Portishead police officer, who enjoyed a close friendship with a married woman, has been fired after a disciplinary panel ruled he used his position to try to get her husband arrested and ruin their marriage.
PC Tony Gillard had 23 years’ experience working in the police but was dismissed by Avon and Somerset Constabulary for gross misconduct after ruling he tried to ‘harass’ a member of the public.
The panel was told PC Gillard tried to get the husband, known as Mr H, arrested and sent pictures of him with another woman to Mrs H.
PC Gillard used a police database to perform background checks on Mr H, the panel was told.
It ruled though that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ the checks were not made for ‘legitimate policing purpose’ and his failure to flag up to colleagues he knew Mr H was ‘explicable only by a desire to conceal his real motivation’.
In April 2015, PC Gillard then tried to get a colleague to arrest Mr H for a driving offence based on information sent to him by Mrs H.
He falsely claimed the accusation had been made anonymously and logged it almost seven hours after receiving the information so that when his shift ended another officer would take on the case.
The panel felt PC Gillard’s experience was such it was inconceivable he would not have recognised the conflict of interest. It also ruled his decision to send the photo of Mr H with another woman, and calling Mr H to discuss his ‘domestic circumstances’, showed he tried to ‘adversely influence’ the marriage.
PC Gillard told the Times: “It is regretful the findings of the panel did not go in my favour regarding allegations made more than 18 months ago. Having achieved 23 years of diverse frontline policing with exemplary, merited and officially recognised police service, I feel that all facts considered, my actions were morally correct and reasonable under extremely difficult personal circumstances at the time.
“I was presented with what I believed to be credible and reliable information regarding the alleged illegal activities of Mr H by Mrs H during my association with her. My alleged actions thereafter were simply an attempt to protect her anonymity.
“I would like to thank all who have supported me throughout this process and hope something positive comes of it.”
PC Gillard was dismissed without notice.