A highly experienced former police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct after he choked a new female colleague, brandished scissors in her face and aimed highly sexualised insults at her.
PC Simon Hawxwell, who served in Hampshire constabulary for 18 years, left his young co-worker “fearful she would be sliced” when he held scissors to her cheek in the office.
Hawxwell, 47, who refused to attend his disciplinary hearing, was found guilty of two counts of gross misconduct. He had already left the force but was told that he would have been sacked if he was still serving and was added to the barred list.
The panel heard that Hawxwell and the woman, Officer A – the only female on the team – were on a break at Portsmouth central station in June 2020 when he put his arm around her throat, leaving her struggling to breathe, and asked if she liked to be choked while having sex.
A day later, during a chat about staff vacancies, Hawxwell said new recruits needed to have “massive” breasts.
Officer A, who had only been on the team for six months, said: “He would make sexualised comments quite often so I was not surprised by it but I was getting a bit fed up of it, it made me feel quite mad.
“I don’t think he liked the fact I answered back, the smirk that was on his face went and his voice became more serious. He said something to me and I told him, ‘Don’t speak to me like that’, and then he said, ‘I will speak to you however I want to, you little slut’.
“He came towards my face with scissors, they didn’t touch my face but they were an inch and a half away … for a split second I was fearful I was going to get sliced.”
The hearing was told there was a culture of making jokes about sex in Hawxwell’s team and that they received a warning about inappropriate “banter” just months before.
Hawxwell, who denied gross misconduct, said the incidents were “jokes” and that he would often “use humour to alleviate the stress and pressures of work”.
Alice Sims, chair of the panel, said his comments were “extremely misplaced attempts at workplace banter but nonetheless they were a breach … he failed to act with self-control and treat Officer A with respect and courtesy.”
In December six members of Hampshire police’s serious organised crime unit were found guilty of gross misconduct after a covert bug recorded them regularly making offensive remarks, including wishing death on foreigners. An investigation found that part of the office where a black officer worked was called “Africa corner”.
Deputy chief constable Sara Glen said: “Hampshire constabulary will not tolerate any sexist behaviour from our officers and those who choose to ignore this have no place in the modern police force.
“We expect our officers to uphold the highest levels of professionalism and integrity at all times, on and off duty.”