A police officer has been sacked for gross misconduct after he rubbed his face into a woman’s breasts on a nightclub dancefloor.
A disciplinary hearing was told PC James Pentland’s actions at a Newcastle venue in September 2021 were commonly known as “motorboating” and that when the woman slapped him, he put her arm behind her back.
In its judgement, the panel said the case “serves to perpetuate the general public perception about the inappropriate views and actions of police officers”.
The Northumbria Police officer claimed the woman, known as Ms A, had been flirting with him and had told him she wanted to have sex with him – something she denied.
Ms A agreed that she had taken her shirt off when a particular song was played and waved it above her head, revealing a black sports bra.
In a written summary of the case, Ms A had said “he grabbed hold of her breasts and put his face between them, an action referred to as motorboating”.
But the officer claimed he put his hands in front of her in a “jazz manner” and mimicked touching her breasts as he was trying to be funny in front of a group.
Ms A later told her boyfriend about what had happened and the police were involved.
The panel found that there was no reason for Ms A to make up the allegation.
They also found that the action was not sexual or malicious, but that he intended it to be a joke, one which they found to be “wholly inappropriate conduct”.
In its judgement, the panel said: “There is currently significant national and local public concern about the attitude of police officers to women.
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“There have been many reported cases about officers’ abuse of women.
“This particular case is different in nature to some of the most high-profile cases but it only serves to perpetuate the general public perception about the inappropriate views and actions of police officers.”
The panel found it was gross misconduct and although PC Pentland was “extremely well thought of” by colleagues, friends and family, the only appropriate outcome was dismissal without notice.