Here’s a thought experiment: you’re a UPS delivery dude. One day, you get an itch, veer off your appointed route and make a little pitstop to visit the female half of a couple to whom you rent a house you own. The pop-in turns into a little more than just a courtesy call to check on the plumbing and you end up having consensual sex with her for 30 or 40 minutes. A textbook quickie. Then comes the bummer, though: you’re caught by your dispatcher. How long do you think you’d keep your job? Here’s the answer: probably a lot longer if your employer is willing to lie by omission and cover up some of the details during the internal investigation. Which is apparently how they handle things in Welsh law enforcement . . .
The cop in question, described as a “police marksman” for the Gwent police department, is PC Shaun Jenkins. And he was canned, at first anyway. But in the grand tradition of most public employee lifetime employment protection schemes, he appealed his termination. And he won, getting his job back, though he was busted down to beat cop. When the woman’s husband found out, though, he complained to something called the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
That’s when the Gwent PD omitted certain salient facts about what happened the day PC Jenkins made his conjugal visit. And what, in the opinion of the IPCC, was their most egregious omission? What really pissed them off was the Gwent brass didn’t mention that PC Jenkins had his pistol holstered and on the belt that he dropped to the floor when he and the un-named tenant were getting jiggy with it.
The IPCC report said: “It was further established at this time that the investigating officer’s report provided to the complainant and the IPCC had been redacted to remove the reference to a firearm. There was no evidence provided to the IPCC that the report had been redacted to remove this information.”
The document recounting the incident, which Jenkins submitted, should have read: “On arrival at the address he describes that himself and (redacted) engaged in sexual activity. He states that he took off his body armour, leaving his T-shirt, and then took down his trousers to his ankles in order to engage in sexual activity.
Not to worry, though. ‘Cause as far as the boys at the Gwent constabulary and the appeals panel were concerned, Jenkins was in full control of his gun at all times.
IPCC commissioner for Wales Tom Davies criticised the panel: “The finding of the police appeals panel that the gun was never out of PC Jenkins’ direct and immediate control because it was in a holster, attached to his trousers, which were attached to him, albeit around his ankles, is surprising.
“I am also bemused by the panel’s conclusion that his conduct did not significantly downgrade the protection to the public because there was nothing to suggest he could not have been back in the police vehicle within a minute or two. These findings can only undermine public confidence in the credibility of the police discipline system.
“Any officer having sex on duty is unacceptable behaviour that falls well below what is expected of all police officers. Those who carry firearms are rightly subject to the highest standards of training, procedures and discipline.
Fortunately this happened in the UK where the police are the only ones trustworthy enough to handle firearms. Who knows? Maybe someday we’ll be just as safe here.