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Policeman claimed fake partner died of cancer to get days off

A British policeman was forced to resign as an officer after inventing a story about a girlfriend who died from cancer, all to get some days off work.

August 11, 2022
By Richard Vernalls
11 August 2022

A police officer who invented a girlfriend and claimed she “died of cancer” to get days off work would have been sacked for the “odious” gross misconduct had he not resigned, a chief constable has said.

Police officials say Harry Sarkar “maintained a detailed tissue of lies to colleagues and supervisors about a fake girlfriend, her fake illness, her fake death, and subsequent fake funeral”, the force said.

The student officer resigned before the misconduct hearing on Thursday, where he would have been dismissed without notice.

Sarkar – who quit the force in March – declined to show up for the 13-minute hearing.

Police officials told the hearing that Sarkar’s sympathetic bosses signed off on “sick leave” and other benefits after relying on his lies.

Sarkar received three days’ bereavement leave and benefited from more flexible working hours than his colleagues, it is understood.

The offending took place between October 2020 and June 2021, with the hearing being told that the officer’s behaviour undermined the standards of honesty and integrity, which are “fundamental requirements for a police officer”.

At the time – during the second and third Covid lockdowns – the force was under strain as a number of officers had tested positive.

“This case concerns a protracted period, with the officer creating a fictional relationship where the other party was suffering from cancer and died,” Chief Constable Sir David Thompson said.

“This enabled supervisors to allow enhanced flexibility in his working.

“These ‘truths’ were repeated and developed over a sustained period of time.”

“These ‘truths’ were repeated and developed over a sustained period of time.”

Chief Constable Sir David Thompson on the behaviour of former policeman Harry Sarkar, who made up a fake girlfriend and said she had died to get days off work.

He added: “While this case is not one that has compromised an investigation or involves the officer using powers in bad faith, it is more than a small irregularity.

“Given it concerns a lie about the serious illness or death of a partner, (and) was perpetuated for a considerable period to the team, and special allowances were created, it raises worrying character traits for the officer.

“The public would not expect this from an officer and will be concerned over the obvious odious nature of such a misrepresentation.

“This was a regular repeated behaviour over a substantial period of time.

“It was a significant abuse of trust with colleagues and supervisors.

“There’s no obvious mitigation or reason to excuse this behaviour.”

Concluding the hearing, he said “no other sanction would have been suitable and officer would have been dismissed without notice and accordingly”.

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