'Predatory' Devon and Cornwall Police detective asked colleague for sexual act

Gavin Jolley pictured in 2004. Credit: BPM Media

A former detective sergeant for Devon and Cornwall Police made sexually inappropriate comments to a member of the public, smacked a colleague's bottom, and sent misogynistic messages to female colleagues.

Gavin Jolley also inappropriately touched a member of the public while off duty.

He was found guilty of gross misconduct by a panel, following a three-day hearing in November 2023.

The panel said that if Jolley was still serving he would have been dismissed without notice.

On 29 November the panel, led by an independent legally qualified chair, found he had breached the standards of professional behaviour.

The hearing looked at allegations about 18 incidents.

Between about 2009 and 2021, former officer Jolley’s inappropriate behaviour included:

  • Attempting to kiss a colleague following a team night out.

  • Making sexually inappropriate comments to two female members of the public.

  • Smacking the bottom of another female member of the force and insinuating that he had had a sexual dream about her.

  • Using images on a coffee mug as a pretext for making sexually inappropriate comments to a female colleague and attempting to get that same female colleague into trouble at work.

  • Talking inappropriately about his own sex life.

  • Making inappropriate comments to female colleagues about their clothing.

  • Looking a female colleague up and down whilst pointing his finger and commenting on items of clothing that she was wearing.

  • Sending sexually explicit memes/videos and continuing to do so despite being told not to.

  • Showing a sexual meme/video to a female member of staff.

  • Watching a female colleague work out in the station gym and then making disparaging comments about her workout to other colleagues.

  • Hiding the same officer’s drinks and referring to her weight, thereby causing upset and distress. Also not supporting her through a difficult period health-wise.

  • Making “sleazy” comments in front of a junior officer.

  • Looking through female officers’ Facebook profiles and making inappropriate comments about them.

  • Inferring that a junior female officer should make the tea/coffee.

  • Making inappropriate comments to a female colleague about having seen her husband naked and mimicking how he dried his genitalia.

  • Holding a meeting with a female officer at his home.

  • Making inappropriate comments to an officer about her appearance on her first day as a detention officer.

  • Asking a female colleague to perform a sexual act.

Jolley’s inappropriate behaviour continued despite being warned by line managers around 2009/2010, 2020 and 2021.

The panel stated that Jolley had a "disrespectful and disparaging view of women in particular" and "a shameless attitude towards colleagues", particularly junior ones.

Following the hearing it was concluded that the actions were proven and that his behaviours amounted to gross misconduct.

Head of professional standards, detective superintendent Alexandra Doughty said: “The force and the public expect all officers, staff and volunteers to carry out their roles to a high standard and to maintain the expected behaviours and professional boundaries both inside and outside of work.

“In this case, former detective sergeant Gavin Jolley’s actions have fallen well below that and as such it is right that he is no longer able to hold the office of constable.

“He has been placed on the barred list so will no longer be able to hold a role in any police force within the UK.”

Deputy chief constable, David Thorne, said: “We are working hard to ensure we root out any officer or staff member who does not display the required expectations for working within the police service and it is right that former detective sergeant Jolley would have been dismissed had he not already resigned. 

“If you have any concerns over the conduct of a member of staff, officer or volunteer, I would encourage you to contact our professional standards department for the matters to be fully investigated.”