Derbyshire police misconduct hearing told Chesterfield officer tapped female colleague on chest and said 'good girl'

A Chesterfield police officer has been accused of tapping a female colleague on the chest and saying ‘good girl’ as he faced a number of misconduct charges.

By Tim Paget
Monday, 6th December 2021, 5:03 pm

Sergeant Darran Clarke is answering allegations that his conduct amounted to a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of ‘authority, respect and courtesy’ and ‘equality and diversity’.

It is alleged the Derbyshire police officer, based at Chesterfield, behaved inappropriately towards junior colleagues who were under his supervision.

Sgt Clarke denied the alleged breaches of standards as the misconduct hearing got underway at the force’s Ripley headquarters on Monday.

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Chesterfield Police Station.

Charges he faces include claims he tapped a PCSO on the chest and said ‘good girl’. It is also alleged Sgt Clarke invited the same PCSO into a male locker room, making her feel ‘uncomfortable’.

He is also accused of making inappropriate remarks to another PCSO relating to her weight.

The hearing was told Sgt Clarke allegedly said the office ‘was full of lesbians’ and referred to LGBT officers as ‘rainbow warriors’.

Sgt Clarke is also accused of making inappropriate comments about race, including use of the phrase ‘my favourite little black PC’ about a colleague.

Presenting counsel Oliver Thorne said Sgt Clarke ‘had favourites’ in the office.

Mr Thorne told the hearing: “The first allegation is that he tapped the PCSO on the chest, leaning over her and saying 'good girl’.

"She was thankful to be wearing a stab vest at the time and it made her feel extremely uncomfortable.”

Guy Ladenburg, counsel for Sgt Clarke, said no contemporaneous notes were taken of the incident or the locker room incident – despite the officer making notes of other incidents involving Sgt Clarke.

The PCSO told the hearing it was ‘patronising’ rather than sexual.

A second PCSO alleged that Sgt Clarke made ‘derogatory’ remarks about her weight, allegedly telling another officer he would have to pump bicycle tyres up before the PCSO went out on the beat riding it.

Mr Ladenburg questioned whether the comment about lesbians in the office ever happened.

"You can’t remember the date, nobody else heard it and you did not take a contemporaneous note of it,” he said to the second PCSO.

A police constable told the hearing she had heard Sgt Clarke use the phrase ‘rainbow warriors’ and had felt forced to lie about her sexuality ‘to make things easier’.

"In my opinion rainbow warriors is a group of gay people,” she said.

"I felt Darran did not like gay people so I tried to deflect that by saying I was straight.”

Mr Ladenburg told the hearing that around the time of some of the allegations there were discussions about changing shift patterns, and it was a ‘difficult job’ for a supervising sergeant ‘in terms of keeping people happy’.

He also claimed the ‘rainbow warriors’ comment was not intended to be offensive and referred to a Greenpeace ship called ‘Rainbow Warrior’.

The allegations, which if all proved will amount to gross misconduct, are contrary to the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020.

The misconduct hearing continues and is expected to last five days.