A Hertfordshire police inspector has been demoted after selling a pair of police uniform trousers on Vinted for £4.
Owen Hurley admitted selling the trousers on the second-hand online marketplace and told a Hertfordshire Constabulary misconduct hearing that the police trousers had been in his wardrobe a long time and he wanted to “make space” after redecorating.
Hurley, who has been demoted to the rank of sergeant with immediate effect, told the hearing: “It was a mistake. I should have thought through the process but I just did it instinctively at the time.”
The sale of the trousers, which were plain and featured no police insignia, was reported to Hertfordshire Constabulary by a member of the public in summer 2023.
Counsel on behalf of Hurley argued that not all mistakes are “unethical” and that by selling the trousers under his own name the police officer was not concealing his behaviour in a way to suggest deliberate wrongdoing.
Hurley denied the sale amounted to gross misconduct and said he had engaged “proactively” in the investigation into his behaviour. He said the sale “wasn’t about money” but confessed listing the trousers on Vinted was police issue.
Chief constable Charlie Hall found Hurley had ordered two new pairs of police trousers in January 2023, which were the same size as those listed on Vinted. Hurley described his old trousers as a poor fit.
Hall ruled that Hurley had breached the professional standards of integrity, discreditable conduct, and duties and responsibilities.
“You have described it as a mistake… I would describe it as stupid,” he said, adding that taking no action may result in “a slippery slope, one that I cannot allow to get a foothold”. He said dismissal is “not proportionate”.