Engaged Met Police detective who groped female officer’s breasts and bottom as they danced together at Christmas party is sacked from force
A detective inspector in his 40s who groped a younger female officer’s breasts, bottom and crotch at a Christmas party has been sacked from the force.
Jonathan Kent, in his 40s, placed his hands on the female officer’s bottom, chest and crotch after they danced together at a work Christmas party Sway Bar in Holborn, central London on 12 December 2019.
He insisted it was a ‘two-way thing’ and was ‘absolutely certain she consented as they had hugged and kissed after leaving the dancefloor together, and that she ‘fancied him’.
Jonathan Kent, in his 40s, pictured leaving the International Dispute Resolution Centre in the City of London earlier in the four-day hearing, placed his hands on the female officer’s bottom, chest and crotch after they danced together at a work Christmas party Sway Bar in Holborn, central London on 12 December 2019
The woman was then said to have reminded Kent of his ‘fiancée and children’.
Kent, who was based at the Met Police Central West Command Unit, accepted he breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy as well as discreditable conduct.
The Met Police disciplinary panel, sitting at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in the City of London, found his actions amounted to gross misconduct after a four-day hearing.
Panel chair Darren Snow said: ‘This was a one off and out of character event involving an officer with a 20-year career and significant service.’
But he added that ‘the only outcome’ could be dismissal without notice.
The panel also decided he did breach professional standards in respect of authority, respect and courtesy as well as discreditable conduct.
Mr Snow said: ‘This type of behaviour clearly brings the Metropolitan Police Service into disrepute.
The panel decided he did breach professional standards in respect of authority, respect and courtesy as well as discreditable conduct, to which Kent accepted. Pictured leaving the International Dispute Resolution Centre earlier in the four-day hearing
‘Mr Kent would have known that to pursue this younger female officer was wrong.
‘He would have known that his behaviour risks causing Officer A embarrassment with her colleagues and potentially undermining her as a younger police officer.’
Mr Snow said while the panel found Kent did reasonably believe Officer A consented at the time, this is ‘no excuse or justification or defence to the appalling behaviour on that night’.
He continued: ‘The public rightly expect senior police officers to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.
‘Mr Kent has failed to do so.
‘The panel finds that the behaviour is so serious and so misjudged that our only finding can be gross misconduct.’
Kent is no longer a serving police officer but he was formally dismissed without notice.
Giving evidence via video link, Kent said it was well known in the office that the colleague found him attractive.
‘I had heard from various sources at different times.
‘It was sort of banter in the office.
‘She had said to various people at various times that she fancied me and that she was going to come after me.’
On the evening of the Christmas party, the team had stopped off at a pub in Covent Garden before heading to Holborn.
Their work Christmas party Sway Bar in Holborn, central London, pictured, in December 2019. The panel heard that Kent and the woman remained at their dining table with a small group of officers to finish leftover bottles of wine
‘I noticed in the pub she was making eye contact and holding eye contact a number of times whilst having a drink,’ Kent said.
At the Sway Bar, the panel heard that Kent and the woman remained at the dining table with a small group of officers to finish leftover bottles of wine.
The former inspector said: ‘As the meal was progressing we were speaking more informally with each other.
‘She sat next to me, touching me, touching my knee.’
Later in the evening the two were dancing, as part of a group and also separately, including her ‘gyrating’ on him.
‘I took that whole thing to be very flirtatious behaviour and I was probably being flirtatious myself as well and in my mind it was being received well,’ Kent said.
‘I had absolutely no indication that what I was doing was not welcome or accepted.
He added: ‘She was going out for a cigarette, and she asked me to go out with her.
‘It was a continuation of the flirtatious atmosphere that was between us. It was a two-way thing.’
Kent accepted that he touched her bottom, her breasts, and her crotch.
He added that while he is ‘ashamed’ of those actions, he is ‘certain’ it was what his colleague wanted.
The Met Police disciplinary panel, sitting at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in the City of London, pictured found his actions amounted to gross misconduct after a four-day hearing
The ex-Met detective inspector continued: ‘She was saying she liked me, she fancied me, she wanted to do something, but what if somebody sees us, and what about your family.
‘But there was no message to say what you are doing is wrong or I don’t want this.
‘It is a matter of huge regret for me.
‘I totally accept that I let myself down personally and professionally.
‘I went out on a Christmas do, had too much to drink and conducted myself in a manner that is not consistent with my character.
‘I am deeply sorry to everybody who has had to work as part of this unpleasant process.
‘I am very sorry to her as well for any trouble that she has been put towards.
‘For whatever hardship she suffered as a result of this, I’m very very sorry.’
While Kent accepted he breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy as well as discreditable conduct, he maintained the breaches amounted to misconduct, not gross misconduct.