An award-winning detective has been found guilty of drink-drinking after downing vodka while travelling to the station where he worked – for a MISCONDUCT meeting.
Detective Constable Robert Hunt, 48, says he sank an almost half full plastic bottle of vodka in “two to three gulps” to give him some “Dutch courage” when he arrived at the station.
The detective had been summoned for a meeting with Detective Chief Inspector Jade Brice to discuss misconduct proceedings being brought against him on a separate matter.
Mr Hunt – who won South Yorkshire Police Detective of the Year Award in 2016 – looking ‘glazed’ during the 20-minute meeting, a court heard.
DCI Brice also told a hearing that she detected the smell of alcohol in the room during the meeting at Rossington Police Station in Doncaster, South Yorks.
Mr Hunt was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol and was asked to take a breath test where he tested positive.
During a second test at Doncaster Police Station, he was found to have 50 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
Following the breath test, Hunt, who has worked for the police for almost 25 years, was remanded into custody at Doncaster Police Station.
He was hauled before Doncaster Magistrates’ where he was found guilty of driving with excess alcohol last week.
The lead magistrate told him they had reached this decision because they found it ‘difficult to believe’ he would have been able to consume the volume of alcohol he specified at the speed he said.
Following the trial, a spokesman for South Yorkshire Police confirmed Hunt has been suspended from duties, pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary hearing.
Prosecuting, Richard Davies told the court that Hunt’s offending came to light when DCI Brice detected a smell of alcohol in the room during the meeting.
Hunt brought his ‘acquaintance,’ West Yorkshire Police Inspector David Westwood, to the meeting with him in his capacity as a representative for the Police Federation.
Mr Davies said: “Detective Brice believed she could detect intoxicants and said: ‘Which one of you has been drinking?'”
Insp Westwood told DCI Brice he had drunk a shandy earlier that day.
Hunt provided a prepared statement in which he said he had consumed alcohol in his car after arriving at, but before entering, the police station.
Hunt said he consumed the alcohol after Insp Westwood had exited the vehicle and gone to the boot to pick up, and look through, his notes.
Hunt said he threw the bottle ‘over his shoulder’ into the back of his car after finishing all of the vodka.
Hunt was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £738, costs of £620 and a victim surcharge of £73.
Hunt’s solicitor, Gwyn Lewis, lodged an appeal against the magistrates’ findings at the conclusion of the trial, which was accepted.
The magistrates agreed that Hunt’s driving ban would be on hold until the conclusion of his appeal, which is due to be heard at Sheffield Crown Court at a date yet to be fixed.
Following the trial, Head of Professional Standards for South Yorkshire Police, Detective Superintendent Dave Barraclough said: “DC Hunt’s behaviour falls well below the high standards expected of our officers and he will be considered for internal disciplinary action.”