A POLICE officer who jumped out of a taxi without paying the fare has been kicked out of the force.
PC Nicola Elston failed to pay the cab fare after a night out with colleagues, a Metropolitan Police misconduct hearing was told.
She had previously been on trial at Southwark Crown Court and cleared of punching the taxi driver in the stomach, but convicted of theft and fined.
Her representation said she had been “jaded through drink” and is “embarrassed by the fact that it ha brought embarrassment on the MPS”.
But the tribunal found she had continued to “push the blame on to others” and what she had done went against “what London rightfully expects of a Metropolitan Police officer”.
Summarising the charges, assistant commissioner Helen King said: “It was alleged that you were requested for payment by Mr Ali (the driver) and lighted the vehicle.
“Mr Ali repeated his request for payment and you threatened to punch him.
“He alleged that you punched him and he saw you enter an address.
“You were arrested later that same night.”
In a statement Elston apologised and said she should have dealt with it in a different manner.
She said: “I accept that it is hard to continue to employ me, especially if I was asked to give evidence in court and would have to declare any convictions.
“I said that I left it [the money] there when the driver started shouting at me.
“I didn’t make the driver drive round the corner, he stopped about 10, 15 metres away [from the address].”
The tribunal heard that she has been placed in the Missing Persons Unit in Brixton while under restrictions.
On the night in question she had drunk a “considerable amount of alcohol”.
Sergeant Michael Kirk, for the Metropolitan Police, said: “On 27 June 2015, PC Elston returned home after a social evening with colleagues.
“The price had been agreed in advance. The cab driver requested money owed to him and PC Elston refused to pay.
“Eventually, he called the police.
“When police knocked at the address she had entered, PC Elston didn’t answer the door. She was later arrested.”
Sergeant James Southgate, representing Elston, said: “She does agree that her conduct amounts to gross misconduct and she is embarrassed by the fact that it has brought embarrassment on the MPS.”She believed what she was doing was correct at the time, although jaded through drink.
“Prior to joining the police, PC Elston went to Anglia Ruskin University where she studied for a BSc in forensic biology.
“She immediately applied for the MPS and, while waiting to start, worked for an insurance company.
“Since the incident, she has carried on attending work and working hard in the Missing Persons Unit.
“I don’t wish to go over the trial and re-examine evidence, but I must mention some relevant points.
“She still disagrees with the outcome of the trial.
“She left the money in the cab as the driver became threatening.”
Concluding, AC Helen King said: “PC Elston has provided strong evidence from colleagues and supervisors that she is a capable, courageous and hard-working officer.
“This was not planned in any way. There is no suggestion that she intended to abuse her position
“She was placed on restrictions and, to her credit, remained in the workplace and also to her credit retains the support of the borough commander.
“However, I have to consider very carefully the aggravating features and what London rightfully expects of a Metropolitan Police officer.
“She didn’t accept responsibility for her actions in pleading guilty and was subsequently found guilty by a jury [of theft].
“She gave evidence that made allegations against the taxi driver. PC Elston has continued to push blame onto others.
“Officers recognise that convictions represent significant barrier to remaining as a police officer.
“I have come to the conclusion that the only appropriate outcome is dismissal without notice.”
Elston admitted her actions constituted gross misconduct.
She was dismissed without notice.