AN Avon and Somerset Police officer has been given a final written warning after it emerged he sexually harassed a PCSO over a period of almost two years.

Among incidents recounted at a misconduct hearing for PC Paul Fortune were that he:

*parked his police car outside his victim's house while on duty;

*sent her text messages and on one occasion referred to himself as "a stalker";

*said to PCSO A: "I have a really high sex if you are ever in need of a partner let me know."

*on another occasion, despite PCSO A saying she was not interested, he said: "What time are you finishing tonight? I can come round to yours after work if you fancy."

*he massaged her shoulders without permission.

PC Fortune did not give evidence at the hearing, at which it was claimed he made "numerous inappropriate and/or sexualised comments towards female colleagues"; he sexually harassed PCSO A; and he caused female colleagues to feel uncomfortable.

During her evidence, PCSO A conceded that Fortune was "thoughtful, kind and caring" and "there was no malice in him".

The hearing panel found that Fortune's behaviour between April 2017 and February 2019 constituted a breach of authority, respect and courtesy; a breach of equality and diversity; and constituted discreditable conduct.

While individual incidents did not amount to misconduct, cumulatively they did, particularly as they took place over a prolonged period against a background of a senior officer towards junior officers.

A written report of the panel's findings said: "Proven allegations of this nature normally give rise to dismissal without notice.

"In this case, taking all matters into consideration...the panel has concluded that this is the unusual case where a final written warning for such proven matters is actually appropriate and proportional."