A London police officer accused of stealing a colleague's biscuits and using the siren on his squad van to speed down a country road has been cleared of misconduct.
PC Thomas Hooper, based in Kingston, stood accused of taking Sarah Blake's biscuits from a storage cupboard on May 7, 2016, and then compounding the offence by lying about it.
He was also accused of needlessly putting his police vehicle into 'response mode' to drive 51 miles per hour in a 30 mile-per-hour zone while on duty, before attempting to quash the penalty notice.
Lawyer Charles Apthorp, representing the force at Hooper's disciplinary tribunal, said the officer had shown a “fundamental lack of integrity”. Referring specifically to the biscuits, Apthorp said this was not simply about the stolen food - but painted a broader picture of Hooper's character.
Hooper's defence team had a response to both accusations. His representatives told the tribunal that Hooper intended to share the biscuits and also offered to replace them.
Regarding the speeding offence, Hooper's team said he was transferring a patient from a mental health unit to the police station, and the patient had been sick in the van - turning it into a health hazard.
Blake herself appeared before the panel, saying she was forced to refer the matter of the stolen biscuits to the Directorate of Professional Standards due to the "gravity of the incident". She added that, although Hooper offered to replace the biscuits, "by that time the biscuits had been eaten and, in my mind, theft is theft. How was he going to put the biscuits back?”
Despite Blake's appearance, it was eventually found that Hooper had no case to answer for both allegations and he will now return to full duties.