A former Oxford detective lied to colleagues after a fellow copper allegedly exposed himself to a woman, a panel found.

Ex-DCI James Senior was found guilty of “gross misconduct” over his handling of the woman’s allegation at a party at his home in July 2021 with Thames Valley Police publishing the full report on the case this week. 

A misconduct panel held at police headquarters in Kidlington said his response was “inadequate” and found he had misled investigators about the incident.

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Mr Senior, who headed up a police scheme to stop violence against women and girls, was also found to have exchanged “grossly offensive and derogatory” WhatsApp messages about a female friend two months before.

The former officer would have been sacked if he had not already left the force, the panel concluded.

Oxford Mail: Former detective chief inspector James Senior

At a party at his home on July 30, 2021, Mr Senior was told by a woman that his friend, Anish Sharma, a Met Police sergeant, had exposed himself to her.

The woman admitted to the panel that she was “very drunk” at the time.

But Mr Senior’s response was “inadequate”, the panel said, as he told the woman, “have a think about what you want to do as we all have careers”.

The incident came some four months after the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens hit headlines worldwide.

The panel found Mr Senior had failed in his duty and responsibilities, failed to act with integrity, and acted in a manner likely to bring discredit on the force.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Senior allowed his friend to leave the party, and even informed him of the allegation.

Aware of the allegation, PS Sharma later deleted WhatsApp messages that the pair had shared that night and the following morning.

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The following day, Mr Senior signed a witness statement and failed to mention these messages. The panel said his statement was “false and misleading.”

The panel also saw messages the pair had exchanged two months earlier, when Mr Senior invited his friend to a pub between Bicester and Aylesbury.

In the exchange, he said a woman would be staying at his house “single and drunk”.

PS Sharma said he “can’t be asked with the trek”, or “the rape allegation lol.”

Mr Senior replied, “f*** you then” and “good point”.

The panel said it was “particularly concerned” that Mr Senior had failed to challenge his friend’s comment about the rape allegation.

It said: “He (Mr Senior) saw it as a joke. This ‘joke’ in the view of the panel was unacceptable.”

Mr Senior admitted misconduct at the hearing.

The panel said it accepted “his genuine remorse and insight and an acceptance to learn from the experience”.