A policeman has appeared at a disciplinary hearing accused of “stealing” a colleague’s tin of biscuits, as an inspector told the panel “theft is theft”.
Pc Thomas Hooper, based at the Met’s Kingston Operational Command Unit in south-west London, is said to have taken the medium-sized two-tier tin of biscuits from a storage cupboard on May 7 2016 and then given a false account about it.
Charles Apthorp, representing the Metropolitan Police, told a central London misconduct hearing that it was not just a matter of taking a tin of biscuits but whether his actions had amounted to a breach of professional standards.
Mr Apthorp said: “The appropriate authority’s perspective is that it is not the value of what was taken, it is what was done. It shows clear evidence of misappropriation of property.”
He said Pc Hooper would have been aware this was not appropriate conduct and had shown a “lack of integrity”.
Pc Hooper took the biscuits, but was going to share them and also offered to replace them, the tribunal heard. He denies two allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour.
He is also accused of applying for a fixed penalty notice to be cancelled. It had been triggered when he was on duty, driving at 51mph in a 30mph zone while in a marked police Transit van to Kingston station on May 3 2016. It is claimed the officer had been driving the van in response mode when there was no reason for it and that he later gave a false account of both incidents.
The incident happened as Pc Hopper took a male patient from a mental health unit to the station, according to Ben Summers, Pc Hooper’s counsel.
He said Pc Hooper claimed that the air conditioning was not working and that the vehicle was not fit to be in use as the patient had been sick and turned it into a health hazard.
Naheed Asjad, the panel chairman, said the public would be concerned about the value of the complaint about the biscuits.
She asked Sarah Blake, who was an inspector at the time: “You have a sergeant and an inspector and a box of biscuits that have gone missing and the only thing you can come up with is to refer the matter to DPS (Directorate of Professional Standards)?”
Ms Blake replied that “the option of going to the DPS was because of the gravity of the incident”.
Ms Asjad pointed out that an offer had been made to replace the biscuits.
Ms Blake said: “By that time the biscuits had been eaten and, in my mind, theft is theft. How was he going to put the biscuits back?”
Insp Mark Bullen said of the alleged motoring incident: “Having viewed the CCTV, I thought it was a particularly aggressive drive and it was unnecessary.”
The hearing continues.