Shropshire Star

Misconduct hearing rules on police officer who played rugby while off sick with bad back

A West Mercia Police officer caught playing rugby while off sick would have been sacked had he not resigned, a hearing has concluded.

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An accelerated misconduct hearing heard that former officer, Ethan Aherne, 28, who was previously based in south Worcestershire, had breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct and honesty and integrity.

On September 29 last year, following a guilty plea, Aherne was convicted by Kidderminster Magistrates of fraud by false representation contrary to section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

On Friday, the accelerated misconduct hearing heard how Aherne, who was previously based in south Worcestershire, was off sick claiming that he had a back injury but was in fact playing rugby on a regular basis.

As part of the investigation, officers from the force anti-corruption unit travelled to Cardiff where they saw him playing rugby.

Aherne resigned from the force in December 2022 after 15 months service.

The hearing was chaired by Temporary Chief Constable Alex Murray.

Following the outcome he said: "Ethan Aherne’s deception was calculated and totally immoral.

"He exploited and abused the welfare systems in place within the force to support officers and staff who have genuine physical health issues. He also betrayed all the hard working officers of West Mercia Police, taking his pay check whilst they would be engaged in work serving victims of crime that he should have been doing.

"I’d like to thank the team in the anti-corruption unit who led the investigation into Aherne, and secured evidence which was instrumental in securing the criminal convictions against him.

"Officers like Aherne have no place in policing and he will now be added to the College of Policing’s Barred List banning him from working for a UK police service in the future."

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