A former Police Community Support Officer has been fined £500 for outraging public decency following a fast-paced investigation into a viral video posted on social media.
The actions of Kevin Phillips, 56, who has since resigned but was attached to the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, sparked widespread disgust when, unbeknownst to him, he was filmed by a member of the public committing the offence on a park bench.
The footage was uploaded to social media and watched tens of thousands of times by horrified viewers. The video captured Phillips’ badge number, indicating he was serving in the Met.
Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, who leads the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “Phillips’ behaviour that day was repulsive and is contrary to everything the decent officers and staff of the Metropolitan Police stand for. He has let down a great many of his colleagues and the public whom we serve. There is absolutely no place in the Met for such appalling behaviour.
“As soon as we became aware of the video we took immediate action to investigate. Officers worked through the night to identify him and secure a warrant for his arrest. The investigation, led by our new Domestic Abuse and Sexual Offences professionalism team, resulted in Phillips’ arrest, charge and guilty plea within 48 hours. I trust such swift action will assure the public how seriously we take breaches of trust and confidence and how robustly we will work to root out those who undermine the service.”
The video came to police attention late on Wednesday, 30 March. Phillips was arrested at his home address early the next morning. He was taken into custody and charged with outraging public decency that same day and was then remanded to appear at Croydon Magistrates’ Court the following morning, where he entered a guilty plea.
He was bailed to appear at Croydon Crown Court on Thursday, 16 June for sentencing.
The incident took place in Dog Kennel Hill Park, East Dulwich while Phillips was on duty.
Following his arrest, Phillips was suspended and the matter was referred by the Met to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. They determined that a local investigation be carried out by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.
Phillips resigned but this did not stop misconduct proceedings taking place.
An accelerated special case hearing, chaired by Chief Supt Ovens, took place on Thursday, 26 May. It found that had Phillips still been a serving member of police staff he would have been dismissed without notice.
+ The Domestic Abuse and Sexual Offences investigation unit (DASO) is part of the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards – it’s the first time the Met has had a dedicated unit of this nature and it’s the first of its kind in policing nationally.
Launched in January, the unit focuses on investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse involving Met officers and staff, and ensuring those who report matters are well supported. The team is made up of more than 30 experienced officers, all of whom are investigators with extensive specialist knowledge.
We’re working really hard to begin rebuilding the public’s trust and confidence that police officers will protect and respect them. We have already taken a number of significant steps to start real change across the organisation. These include two independent reviews, an examination of all current investigations of sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Met employees and an increase in the number of investigators in our professional standards directorate to root out those whose behaviour is unacceptable.