Buckingham Palace police officer 'Should be sacked immediately after sending teenage girl sexualised texts'

A married police officer responsible for guarding the royal family should be sacked immediately for gross misconduct after sending a teenage girl "highly sexualised and abusive" text messages, a misconduct panel recommended.

Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 3:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 4:10 pm
Buckingham Palace police officer 'Should be sacked immediately after sending teenage girl sexualised texts'

Royalty and Specialist Protection Police Constable Andrew Daly admitted taking the number of a 16-year-old girl while he was on duty at Buckingham Palace in May 2016 and sending her "disrespectful" text messages.

Although the officer said he did not know how young she was, the panel at his misconduct hearing on Tuesday found that he "clearly knew she was very young".

The independent chairman Akbar Khan told the hearing at the Empress State Building in west London that the panel found Daly's actions had amounted to gross misconduct.

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Mr Khan said that despite a long record of service, the panel had no option but to recommend Daly's dismissal without notice.

He said the text messages, which included one where Daly admitted he was married and another asking the teenager if she was a virgin, were "highly sexualised and abusive".

Mr Khan added: "He was fully responsible for initiating the contact whilst in a position of trust.

"The complainant was 16 years old at the time of the incident and was a vulnerable person by reason of the imbalance of power between the two.

"Members of the public would be appalled by the conduct of the officer towards the complainant, especially given his role as a specialist officer in a highly visible role.

"In the circumstances, the panel considers that dismissal without notice is the appropriate and only decision."

Daly did not attend his misconduct hearing but the panel heard he did not contest the allegations.

Giving evidence, the woman, who has not been named, said she had been visiting Buckingham Palace with her mother and sister when an armed officer asked for her number. She said that despite telling Daly she was 16, he said she was not under-age and should take his number.

She added: "It was the Queen's tea party that we went to see because there was a parade.

"He was standing by one of the big gates and was one of the armed officers.

"I made sure I said I was 16 to him."

She added that she did not really want to give her number to Daly.

The teenager told the hearing she was originally from Hungary and had lived in the UK six years when the incident took place.

When asked why she had not questioned him about why he wanted her number, she told the hearing that she did not think to "ask a policeman with a gun why he wanted something".

The woman, who is now over 18, said he soon began sending her messages including asking if she was a virgin.

She added: "I was disgusted, I felt quite violated. I had a random person talking to me and saying if I am a virgin.

"He was a police officer, he was someone I am supposed to trust while I am walking around the streets, that I am supposed to call when I am in trouble."

Daly did not contest allegations that he breached professional standards by obtaining her telephone number when he should have been performing his professional duty, giving the impression he wanted to pursue a relationship with her, and sending her disrespectful messages.

Charles Apthorp, counsel for the Met, said girl's age was an aggravating factor.

He added: "It's a serious consideration. But whether the young lady was 16, 17, 18, 19 or 30 doesn't really matter.

"A police officer in the position that this officer was in should not be seeking to initiate sexual relations in this manner.

"We are in a very different place from where it was acceptable for police officers to pick up women outside Buckingham Palace."