PSNI Officer Disciplined For Drinking In Homeless Hostel

A Northern Ireland police officer has been disciplined after breaching the policies of a homeless hostel by climbing in through a window and spending several hours drinking with residents.

A Police Ombusman investigation found that the officer, who was off-duty and not in uniform at the time, persuaded a hostel resident to let him in through a window of the County Antrim facility, and had a bottle of vodka with him.

The incident took place in April 2016.

The officer later admitted that he was aware of the no alcohol and no visitors policy, as well as the fact that many residents were alcohol dependant.

He also agreed that he had told residents he was a police officer, and had produced his warrant card to prove it.

The Police Ombudsman found that the behaviour had the potential to bring the police force into disrepute, and disciplined the offending officer accordingly.
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Evidence suggested that he was drinking with residents in a room in the hostel between 11pm and around 1.45am, before leaving in a taxi to buy food at a local fast food restaurant. When he returned with two large bags of food and eight soft drinks, he was refused entry by hostel staff.

The investigation also revealed that the officer had accessed a friend's police records without authorisation or a policing purpose in May 2013. The Ombudsman submitted a file to the Public Prosecution Service, which resulted in an adult caution of the officer.

Chief Inspector Joe McMinn said: "PSNI accepted the findings of the Ombudsman in this case and implemented an internal disciplinary process which resulted in the officer receiving a misconduct outcome.

"Both we and the public expect police officers to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times, whether on or off duty.

"Where it is perceived that conduct falls short of these high standards, it is right that officers should face an impartial, thorough investigation by the Police Ombudsman's office."


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