Dad-of-two policeman sacked after ‘going AWOL on shift 12 TIMES to meet his boyfriend’

Sergeant Lee Stephens deserted his colleagues on at least 12 occasions to either drive home or to a rooftop café for dates with his boyfriend.

The 42-year-old policeman was finally caught out after senior officers checked the GPS on his police car – only to discover he was 16 miles away from his designated station.

Stephens won a police bravery award for helping to rescue six people from a burning building, presented to him by then Prime Minister David Cameron.

The £41,000-a-year officer was hailed a hero during the award ceremony in 2011 after he and other officers saved a family from a fierce fire in Newport, Gwent.

While awarding his actions, Mr Cameron told him: "You think the fire service do that job but if the police are there first they go in and do what they can.

“You saved precious lives, well done.”

However, the celebrated officer saw his 13-year police career come to an abrupt end after it emerged that he was bunking off for up to an hour and 40 minutes to meet up with his new lover.

Stephens told a disciplinary panel that we were having relationship problems – despite posting pictures on Facebook showing them "smiling and happy".

He went on to admit that he may have kissed or hugged his lover while meeting up with him at the picturesque Caerphilly Mountain cafe near Cardiff.

The disciplinary hearing was told how Stephens went missing while he was in charge of a team of 10 officers based in Bargoed, Gwent.

Prosecutor Barnabas Branston told the hearing: "He was there to supervise and do everything that supervision involves, he was there to set an example.

“He has epically failed in his role as a police officer, he was there to provide support.

“It was not a one-off, it was not an emergency- if it was a one-off it could have been justified.

“He pulled the wool over everyone's eyes, he does not have integrity whatsoever because he does what he wants.”

The hearing heard that aggravating factors included Stephens being in uniform and driving a marked police car to his home 15 miles away in Cardiff, or to the mountain cafe.

The hearing was also told that for 12 out of the 15 shifts in question, the sergeant was travelling to meet his partner on his breaks, with the longest excursion lasting an hour and 40 minutes.

Father-of-two Stephens admitted to four allegations of misconduct.

He told the hearing that his partner was having problems due to a previous relationship.

He said: “I thought I could juggle personal issues with work and looking back now I realise I couldn’t do both.

“I was juggling both my family and my partner. If I know what I had done now I would have accessed a GP and got some time off work.

“I have left my team down.”

An independent panel found Stephens had committed gross misconduct on two allegations and was "dishonest and lacked integrity".

Panel chairman Peter Jones said Stephens’ disappearances meant that "confidence could not be maintained in his ability to serve as a police officer."

Stephens, who was said to be "professional and hard-working", was dismissed without notice from his job with Gwent Police.


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