A POLICE inspector raped a woman in a hotel room while he was off-duty, a misconduct panel has found.
Clive Summerill, who was in charge of South Gloucestershire’s neighbourhood policing teams for many years, has been sacked without notice for his “shocking and reprehensible” action.
The panel heard that Insp Summerill’s actions were subject to a criminal investigation by another “independent” police force, but no further action was taken due to there being insufficient evidence to bring charges.
However the misconduct panel – which decides cases on the balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases – concluded that he had raped the woman.
The panel found Insp Summerill took advantage of the woman, who was so drunk she could not remember the incident but awoke to find herself naked and knowing someone had had sex with her.
Insp Summerill had denied the offence and alternative allegations of sexual assault and having sex with a person who was vulnerable due to intoxication.
He claimed it was the woman who initiated the kissing, on a night when he was staying away from home.
Insp Summerill insisted he and the woman, who cannot be identified, did not have sexual intercourse. He said they had had a “drunken fumble but it was more than a kiss and a cuddle”.
The panel, led by a independent legally qualified chair (LQC), found that he raped the woman, and committed gross misconduct.
Insp Summerill accepted a fourth allegation, that he had identified the woman to other people, but denied this amounted to misconduct.
However, the panel disagreed.
He was dismissed on the spot at the end of the five-day hearing last week.
Avon & Somerset Constabulary head of professional standards Superintendent Mark Edgington said: “The panel, led by an independent LQC, has found that on the balance of probabilities – the burden of proof required at misconduct hearings – this officer committed rape against a woman.
“This has been a complex and sensitive investigation and our priority has been to safeguard and support the woman involved, while carrying out a robust and thorough examination of the circumstances.
“The panel’s findings mean this officer has committed a shocking and reprehensible act, and while there was insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings to be brought, he’s not fit to have the privilege of serving our communities and will be banned from holding another position in policing or law enforcement again.
“While the vast majority of our staff dedicate themselves to public service and keeping people safe, our mission to root out those who don’t belong in policing continues at pace.
“It’s important to stress this is likely to take some time.
“We’ll keep shining a light into all corners of the organisation to ensure there’s no place for those who engage in predatory behaviour such as this to hide, and when allegations are made, they will be subject to rigorous and decisive examination with criminal and/or misconduct proceedings being instigated if the evidential thresholds are met.
“We take all reports of violence against women and girls extremely seriously and will always ensure victims have the care and support they need throughout the investigative and criminal justice process.”
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service