The panel heard that on 9th and 10th August 2018, whilst on duty, PC Finch exchanged a total of 771 messages via WhatsApp to someone who he had met on a dating app. Most of the messages were of a sexual nature and included arranging to engage in sexual activity.
Shockingly, the messages also included a video of Finch exposing himself whilst in Hampshire Constabulary uniform. The incident took place inside a Police-owned building, but Hampshire Constabulary say they are unable to reveal which one.
The misconduct panel concluded that the behaviour was in breach of Hampshire Constabulary’s Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to Duties and Responsibilities and Discreditable Conduct, amounting to gross misconduct.
Furthermore, on 10th August 2018, PC Finch had been given permission to leave work early and before he was due to complete an hour of pre-authorised overtime. However, the next day he dishonestly claimed pay for work including the hour of overtime which he had not worked.
The panel also found that this behaviour breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to Honesty and Integrity, Duties and Responsibilities and Discreditable Conduct, amounting to gross misconduct.
PC Finch, who was the Child Sexual Exploitation lead and the Counter Terrorism lead on the Island, was well known within schools and other organisations. He has now been dismissed from the force without notice. However, Joe is yet to update his LinkedIn profile which states he still works for Hampshire Constabulary after more than 14 years’ service having joined the force back in 2006.
Joe is also known outside of his work as a Police officer as being the founder of IW Pride, although he is no longer connected with the event. He was also the Chair of Governors at both Medina College and Carisbrooke College for a period of 6 years.
Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen of Hampshire Constabulary said:
“Maintaining the trust and confidence of our communities can only be achieved if our police officers uphold the highest standards of professional behaviour at all times, but especially when on duty. Honesty and integrity is an integral part of being a police officer and there is no place within our force for those who choose to ignore the fundamental principles of policing.”