A POLICE inspector raped a woman in a hotel room while he was off-duty, a misconduct panel has found.
Clive Summerill, who had been in charge of all South Gloucestershire’s neighbourhood policing teams before the incident, has been sacked without notice for his “shocking and reprehensible” action.
An Avon & Somerset police misconduct panel heard that Insp Summerill’s actions were subject to a three-month criminal investigation by another police force, which has not been named.
No further action was taken after it was decided there was insufficient evidence to bring charges that could be proved beyond reasonable doubt, the test used in criminal cases.
However the panel – which decides cases on the balance of probabilities – concluded that Insp Summerill had raped the woman.
It found he took advantage of her when she was so drunk she could not remember the incident, but had awoken to find herself naked, knowing someone had had sex with her.
Insp Summerill had denied the offence and alternative allegations of sexual assault and having sex with a person who was vulnerable due to intoxication.
He claimed the woman had started kissing him, on a night when he was staying away from home in October 2021.
Insp Summerill insisted he and the woman, who cannot be identified, did not have sexual intercourse, saying they had a “drunken fumble” but “more than a kiss and a cuddle”.
The panel, led by a independent legally qualified chair (LQC), found that he raped the woman, and committed gross misconduct.
Insp Summerill accepted a fourth allegation, that he had identified the woman to other people, but denied this amounted to misconduct.
However, the panel disagreed.
He was dismissed on the spot at the end of the five-day hearing on September 29.
Insp Summerill had been the South Gloucestershire Neighbourhood Inspector since at least 2015.
He was suspended three weeks after the allegation was made against him, on full pay.
Avon & Somerset Constabulary head of professional standards Superintendent Mark Edgington said: “The panel, led by an independent LQC, has found that on the balance of probabilities – the burden of proof required at misconduct hearings – this officer committed rape against a woman.
“This has been a complex and sensitive investigation and our priority has been to safeguard and support the woman involved, while carrying out a robust and thorough examination of the circumstances.
“The panel’s findings mean this officer has committed a shocking and reprehensible act, and while there was insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings to be brought, he’s not fit to have the privilege of serving our communities and will be banned from holding another position in policing or law enforcement again.
“We’ll keep shining a light into all corners of the organisation to ensure there’s no place for those who engage in predatory behaviour such as this to hide, and when allegations are made, they will be subject to rigorous and decisive examination with criminal and/or misconduct proceedings being instigated if the evidential thresholds are met.”
Insp Barny Mabbett has been appointed the force’s new neighbourhood inspector following Insp Summerill’s sacking.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service