Former Barking and Dagenham police officer who moonlighted as dog walker committed gross misconduct

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 May 2020

Former police officer, Richard Williams, leaves Southwark Crown Court after being given a suspended prison sentence. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Former police officer, Richard Williams, leaves Southwark Crown Court after being given a suspended prison sentence. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

A former Barking and Dagenham police officer who forged sick notes in order to moonlight as a dog walker in a £100,000 fraud committed gross misconduct, an investigation into his actions found.

A Met Police special case hearing ruled that Richard Williams, who resigned as a police constable in February last year, would have been dismissed without notice had he still been a member of the force.

The hearing - held in private due to the coronavirus pandemic - heard how that between March 2015 and September 2017, Williams had submitted, forged or altered sickness certificates.

It was alleged that Williams’ actions breached the standards of professional behaviour in respect of honesty, integrity and discreditable conduct, and that they amounted to gross misconduct.

In January, he was given a two year suspended sentence after previously being found guilty of seven counts of fraud by false representation forgery.

He was deemed unfit to work after he was involved in two car crashes, and jurors at Southwark Crown Court were told he used correction fluid to alter and forge sick notes from his GP in order to remain signed off.

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During the trial, it was heard that Williams, 40, fraudulently received £58,000 in net wages and £24,500 in pension contributions during an 18-month period.

The total loss to the Metropolitan Police was more than £100,000, though some of this was taken back in tax deductions.

However, it was eventually discovered Williams had earned thousands of pounds as a professional dog walker in the time he fraudulently claimed to be unable to work.

The court heard Williams had been formally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition with unknown causes.

Judge Christopher Hehir, who sentenced Williams in January, said: “If he had turned up and made the appointments he probably would have got a sick note in any event. He could have been paid most if not all of the money he got without resorting to dishonesty.”

The former officer denied nine counts of fraud by providing false medical certificates between April 24 2015 and November 27 2017, but was convicted of seven counts.

Williams, of Aylesbury Road, Aylesbury, was cleared of one count of fraud. A further count of fraud and possession of an article for use in fraud were left to lie on file.

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