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Former Essex Police Officer dismissed after Combat 18 link probe

Crime / Wed 21st Feb 2018 pm28 08:32pm

A former Essex Police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct in connection with a bomb hoax note written in 1999.

The hearing, overseen by Independent Legally Qualified Chair, Siobhan Goodrich, heard a handwritten note referencing the organisation ‘Combat 18’ and warning of an explosion was fixed to the wall of a fast food restaurant in London on November 10, 1999.

On January 4, 2004, Pc Craig Davis signed an application form to join Essex Police which included a range of questions relating to security information and any involvement with espionage, terrorism, or sabotage. He replied ‘no’ to all relevant questions and his application was successful.

At the end of 2015, DNA linking Pc Davis to the note came to light following a speculative search of the Centralised Elimination Database which holds DNA profiles from police officers and staff.

Essex Police was informed about this on February 10, 2016 and made the Metropolitan Police Service aware, leading to the re-opening of its investigation.

Pc Davis, who was based on Canvey Island, was arrested and interviewed by the Met on March 22, 2017 in relation to the note but denied having any knowledge of or involvement with Combat 18, writing the note, or fixing it to the wall of the restaurant.

He made the same denials again in a signed statement in July 2017.

The hearing reviewed evidence from a handwriting expert whose findings strongly supported the assertion that Pc Davis was the author of the note.

He was placed on restricted duties following his arrest and resigned from the force on February 9, 2018.

He did not contest or attend the hearing.

At the Essex Police misconduct hearing at Harlow Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, February 20), Pc Davis was found guilty of gross misconduct having breached Essex
Police’s Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to two counts of Honesty and Integrity.

He had also faced one count of Discreditable Conduct but that was found not proven.

The panel’s decision was that he would have been dismissed if he had not already resigned.

Chief Superintendent Rachel Nolan, the senior officer sitting on the panel, said after the hearing: “Honesty and integrity are core values for Essex Police and we expect every officer and member of staff to adhere to them at all times.

“Pc Davis was repeatedly inconsistent about his knowledge of Combat 18 or writing the note, calling his honesty and integrity into question.

“While no information or evidence was found to specifically indicate Pc Davis was ever an active member of Combat 18 or had any involvement in right wing extremist activity, his actions have fallen well short of the standards we demand we have had no choice but to issue this sanction.”

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