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Daily wins fight to name sacked PC after top cop’s U-turn

A regional daily has successfully fought to name a disgraced police officer just days after being refused the right to do so.

The Bristol Post has now named PC Kevin Curd, who was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct by Avon & Somerset Police.

As reported by HTFP on Monday, the Post had criticised what it called “murky” police practices after chief constable Sarah Crew granted anonymity to PC Curd at his misconduct hearing – despite him having been previously named in a publicity notice ahead of proceedings.

But after the Post, local democracy reporter Adam Postans and publisher Reach plc’s legal team challenged the decision, the chief constable agreed that PC Curd should be named

How the Post covered the initial decision on Monday's front page

How the Post covered the initial decision on Monday’s front page

Editor Pete Gavan told HTFP: “This is the right decision by the chief constable. The order should never have been granted and we knew we had to take a stand.

“This was a team effort from my LDR Adam Postans with support from our legal team and goes to show the difference good journalism can make.”

In a statement issued this afternoon, the force said: “Before the hearing, chief constable Sarah Crew decided it should be held in public, for the reasons of openness and transparency.

“A misconduct notice was issued on the Avon & Somerset Police website, naming the officer as PC Kevin Curd.

“When the hearing started, it became clear that details of the allegations would identify and adversely impact on vulnerable people not named in the original hearing notice, including juveniles, and the chief constable imposed a restricted reporting order as a proportionate response to prevent this from happening.

“In a subsequent public statement giving details of the hearing outcome, the officer’s name was withheld, resulting in a media outlet challenging this decision. The chief constable has listened to the concerns raised and has sought further legal advice.

“The advice has determined that while further details of the allegations cannot be released to protect the identity of third parties, this does not mean the officer had to be anonymised.

“Rooting out officers who betray the professional standards expected of them is of paramount importance if we are to restore and uphold levels of public trust and confidence in policing. Holding hearings in public is a crucial part of this process.

“The presumption is always that a misconduct hearing, or a special case or accelerated hearing, should be held in public, to ensure we’re as open as transparent as we can be, and there is clear accountability around the decisions made, either by a panel led by an independent legally qualified chair, or in the case of an accelerated hearing, in front of a chief constable.”

The hearing was told that while off-duty, PC Curd had looked up details of two call logs on police systems in March of this year, without having a legitimate reason to do so. The contents of one of the call logs was then disclosed to a third party outside of the force without a policing purpose.

In an editorial published after chief constable Crew’s initial ruling last week, the Post vowed to fight what it called the “murky practice of granting dodgy coppers anonymity”.