A DORSET Police officer currently serving a prison term for defrauded the force out of £150,000 while claiming to be unfit to work has been found guilty of gross misconduct.

Police Constable Matthew Littlefair, 36 and of Alderholt, faced a misconduct hearing at Dorset Police Headquarters in Winfrith after he fraudulently claimed he was unfit to work between October 2017 and July 2020 following a minor car crash.

He was jailed for two and a half years for fraud by false representation following a sentencing hearing at Salisbury Crown Court on November 3, 2021. Littlefair had resigned from the force following a guilty plea on August 13, 2021.

READ MORE: Fraudulent Dorset Police officer 'undermined' colleagues

At the misconduct hearing the panel, led by an independent legally qualified chair, concluded that Littlefair’s conduct had amounted to gross misconduct and that had he still been a serving officer, he would have been dismissed from the Force.

The panel found that the officer had breached the standards of professional behaviour, namely honesty, integrity and discreditable conduct.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Lyne said: “It is disappointing to see an officer dishonestly claiming to be unfit for work, claiming his publicly funded salary and undermining the confidence of the public through his actions.

“I hope this case does demonstrates that, through our Counter Corruption Unit and Professional Standards Department, we will take action against officers who act dishonestly and where appropriate they will not only face internal disciplinary proceedings but also criminal prosecution.

“This behaviour is not indicative of the overwhelming majority of our staff and teams out delivering quality policing day to day and there is no place in Dorset Police for this dishonest behaviour. 

“If you have any concerns in respect of any member of the organisation, we encourage you to report them to Dorset Police so they can be thoroughly investigated.”

As a result of the misconduct hearing decision, Littlefair will be placed on the barred list administered by the College of Policing.

READ MORE: Dorset Police officer jailed for health fraud against force

After being discharged from hospital following the car crash, Littlefair reported as unfit for duty and took sick leave from work.

In September 2019, a medical practitioner determined Littlefair could no longer perform his duties as a frontline police officer and he was offered an ill-health award, which required a formal review in five years’ time.

Littlefair appealed the decision, claiming he was unlikely he would be able to work again in the future and an appeal hearing was initially set for March 2020 but was subsequently delayed due to the pandemic. Littlefair continued to receive his full salary during this period.

In January 2020, Dorset Police’s Counter Corruption Unit was made aware of concerns of the legitimacy of Littlefair’s claims and launched an investigation which found he was leading an active life, including walking his dog and running.

Since the offending, the officer has been diagnosed with functional neurological disorder.

 

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