Detective started 'improper sexual relationship' with domestic abuse victim

Man and girl, 16, arrested after loaded guns and ammunition found

A former police officer abused his position of trust and started an improper sexual relationship with a victim. - Credit: Met Police

A former detective formed an inappropriate relationship with a domestic abuse victim, shared confidential information and accessed her police records without authorisation.

Former detective constable Joseph Gilligan, who was attached to the Met Police's North West Basic Command Unit that covers Brent, Barnet and Harrow, has been disciplined following an investigation into his unacceptable behaviour.

A misconduct hearing was held at the Empress State Building, in southwest London, on Tuesday, March 22 to Friday, March 25, even though the officer had resigned from the Met in February 2021.

The hearing heard that in 2019 former DC Gilligan was appointed as the officer in charge of an investigation where a woman accused her former partner of domestic abuse.

DC Gilligan abused his position of trust and started an improper sexual relationship with the victim.

On October 28, 2019, former DC Gilligan made an unauthorised disclosure when he shared sensitive images and footage with the victim from a serious sexual assault investigation he was dealing with.

The hearing heard that between January 4 2020 and February 11 2020, the former officer carried out four unauthorised searches for which there was no policing purpose in relation to the victim and her former partner.

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DC Gilligan also accessed the victim’s mobile phone on three occasions without her consent – twice at her house and one at the police station where he worked.  

He viewed text messages and photos on the phone, deleted photographs and viewed a work conversation recorded on the phone. On one occasion he filmed himself reading a text message she had sent to a work colleague and sent the recording to another person.

The hearing heard that on November 29 2019 he crashed his personal car into a vehicle in a police station car park.

At the time of the collision it is alleged he was over the drink drive limit and so he failed to report the collision when it happened. Instead, he reported it the following day and untruthfully said the collision happened because he had suffered a diabetic episode.

The independent chair Cameron Brown and panel members considered all of the evidence and found that the allegations against former DC Gilligan were proven to have breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct, confidentiality, honesty and integrity, and authority, respect and courtesy at a level of gross misconduct.