British Transport Police win legal battle to dismiss PC sex plague

A close-up of the British Transport Police insignia on the side of a police van.

British Transport Police went to court to overturn a decision by the Misconduct Committee that allowed Imran Aftab to keep his job (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A police officer who showed his warrant to try to talk to a lone jogger before telling her she “looked too curvy to be Asian” was fired.

Imran Aftab has been sacked from British Transport Police (BTP) after the Supreme Court made a “landmark decision” overturning an earlier decision by the Misconduct Committee that allowed him to keep his job.

The Central London-based PC was found guilty of gross misconduct by an independent panel in May 2021 but received a final written warning rather than being booted from the profession.

But the BTP successfully challenged the decision through a judicial review, which Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi called “a landmark ruling that preserves my belief in justice” amid an “ongoing fight to restore women’s trust in policing.” ‘ was described.

In a written ruling Friday, Judge Charles Bagot KC called the Misconduct Committee’s decision irrational and it was overturned. Aftab is now officially discharged from the force.

Ms D’Orsi said: “There is no place for someone like Imran Aftab in policing, so we have resolutely overturned the independent panel’s decision which had allowed him to continue in his role as a police officer despite being a risk to them women he was employed to protect.’

On April 15, 2020, Aftab had parked his car off-duty and approached the jogger before attempting to speak to her with his police ID.

The misconduct hearing was told that this was an attempt to abuse his position for sexual gain.

The panel accepted that he used his warrant to impress and woo his victim while also telling her she “looked too curvy to be Asian” and asking for a hug.

This was deeply inappropriate and also went against the government’s social distancing guidelines in place at the time, the BTP said.

His victim was texting her friend at the time of the incident saying, “Help me.”

In its judicial review, BTP argued that the panel’s approach was unlawful and that it failed to understand the seriousness of Aftab’s conduct.

He responded in the High Court by claiming he was a “victim of the times we live in today”.

But the judge ruled that there could be “only one rational and reasonable disciplinary consequence” of his conduct, and BTP “correctly determined that these proceedings reflect a real and current national concern about the behavior of male police officers towards single women”.

The judge explained that it was his “own decision to approach a lonely woman and to indulge in prejudiced racial stereotypes and sexualized language, among other disturbing traits of his behavior that have doomed his police career.”

BTP said that after the May 2021 misconduct hearing, Aftab’s suspension no longer applied as the regulatory process was completed.

But Ms D’Orsi used her powers to remove his warrant pending judicial review, which meant he was banned from BTP’s premises.

Following the force’s successful legal challenge on Friday, Ms D’Orsi said: “This is a powerful position and a costly move for a police force and I hope it gives us all a boost in our resolve to uphold the standards expected of those who work within the.” British Transport Police and root out those who corrupt our integrity.

“The use of a warrant to influence a single woman for the sexual enrichment of an officer is a total abuse of police powers and so seriously undermines public trust that it destroys the very fabric of consensual policing.

“It is totally unforgivable that a woman should feel so intimidated by the actions of a police officer that she feels compelled to text her friend asking for help.

“That’s why we were so determined to make sure he didn’t serve another day as a police officer, and I’m delighted the judge agreed to our challenge today.”

In a blog published after the verdict, Ms D’Orsi called for more transparency and accountability to underpin police professionalism.

She wrote: “Most importantly, I have asked the Home Office to give chief constables the power to decide whether to sack an officer where an independent panel has established gross misconduct.

“Ultimately, I am responsible for the actions of every person I employ. We hear a lot about good policing these days and I’ve always been a big fan of it.

“What is more contrary to common sense than a system that forces me to keep a police officer who I believe poses a danger to the public, and single women in particular? I can’t think of much.”

She added: “While I’m grateful for the judge’s ruling, it should never have come to this.

“No one would want us to have to use public money in this way. We do not want to work with corrupt officials, abusers or sex offenders. But the system has to help us.”

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Justin Scacco

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