Hartlepool police officer fired for lying about witnessing a car spin to cover up being late to work
A police officer based in Hartlepool has been fired after lying to superiors about witnessing a car spin 360 degrees as a cover story for being late again for work.
Pc Andrew Siggens was late for his 7am shift on March 23 when he rang his sergeant to say he had stopped on his drive to Hartlepool Police Station after he saw a car spin out of control on the A19 dual carriageway and pull up in a lay-by.
The Cleveland Police officer lied to superiors and maintained his story at a disciplinary hearing, an independent panel found.
He claimed he had spoken to the driver and then let him continue on his journey.
But the panel has now said it was "incredible" an officer would do that without making further inquiries about why it had happened.
Interviews with the “perplexed” motorist – whose number plate was provided by PC Siggens – were conducted by other officers and sparked further doubts about the story’s credibility.
After publishing details of the dismissal following a two-day hearing, Cleveland Police said the investigation “helped to reinforce the standards we expect”.
They stated: ““Police officers are held to the highest standards of professional behaviour and any alleged breaches are investigated thoroughly.”
The panel heard that his superiors questioned the story Pc Siggens initially told and made further inquiries.
These included checking automatic number plate recognition cameras to give them time and location details of his vehicle.
The officer continued to maintain his story and gave a number plate of the man who supposedly came off the road, which led officers to speak to the motorist to check if he had spun his vehicle.
But the disciplinary panel found the driver was "perplexed" to be asked questions about his uneventful journey to work when uniformed officers spoke to him.
The panel heard that Pc Siggens claimed that the driver, referred to as Mr M, was himself not being truthful about spinning off the road.
Pc Siggens, who has now been sacked for gross misconduct, had already faced criticism for being late and his time-keeping was a cause of concern for his bosses.
After the two-day hearing last month, the panel said Pc Siggens had made "deliberate" steps in his cover-up and repeatedly lied.
It concluded: "A stupid lie at first might be understandable but as the story unravelled he could have apologised and confessed.
"Instead, a month later he produced a detailed written fabrication. That is very serious. It is made worse by the fact that in order to conceal his own wrongdoing he accused others of it.
"He accused a member of the public of lying. Such conduct is unconscionable."
Cleveland Police inspector for complaints and discipline, Inspector Phil Agar, said after the hearing: “Police officers are held to the highest standards of professional behaviour and any alleged breaches are investigated thoroughly.
"In relation to this case colleagues raised concerns about the individual’s actions and in doing so helped to reinforce the standards we expect.”