Policeman claimed his 'fake girlfriend' died of cancer to get time off

West Midlands police officer claimed his ‘fake girlfriend’ died of cancer and told colleagues he was going to her funeral to get time off work and flexible hours

  • Harry Sarkar, 21, has been added to register barring him from being a policeman
  • Student officer made up a fake girlfriend, her cancer diagnosis and even funeral 
  • West Midlands Police said he would have been sacked had he not resigned 

A police officer who claimed his ‘fake girlfriend’ died of cancer to get days off work would have been sacked for the ‘odious’ gross misconduct had he not resigned first, a chief constable has said.

Harry Sarkar, 21, a constable with West Midlands Police, ‘maintained a detailed tissue of lies’ to colleagues and supervisors about ‘a fake girlfriend, her fake illness, her fake death, and subsequent fake funeral’, the force said. 

The student officer spun his macabre web of fibs between October 2020 and June 2021, at a time when his colleagues were under immense pressure due to staff absences caused by Covid. 

Just months earlier, in April 2020, Sarkar, aged 19 at the time, boasted of ‘helping to take some strain off my colleagues’ in an interview with the Express & Star local newspaper, adding: ‘It’s a difficult time… the more I can do, the more I enjoy it.’

Sarkar resigned before the fast-track misconduct hearing at the force’s Birmingham headquarters on Thursday, which would have seen him dismissed without notice had he still been on the payroll.

He has now been added to the register barring him from being a policeman. 

Opening the case against Sarkar – who declined to show up for the 13-minute hearing before chief constable Sir David Thompson – force professional standards said his sympathetic bosses signed off ‘sick leave’ and other benefits after relying on his lies.

Harry Sarkar (pictured) spun his macabre web of lies between October 2020 and June 2021, at a time when his colleagues were under immense pressure due to staff absences caused by Covid

Sarkar resigned before the fast-track misconduct hearing at the force’s Birmingham headquarters on Thursday, which would have seen him dismissed without notice had he still been on the payroll (Pictured: West Midlands Police HQ)

Sarkar received three days’ bereavement leave and benefited from more flexible working hours than his colleagues, it is understood.

Detective Chief Inspector Az Ahmed told the hearing the officer quit in March. 

Sir David said the officer’s behaviour undermined the standards of honesty and integrity, which are ‘fundamental requirements for a police officer’.

At the time – during the second and third Covid lockdowns – the force was under strain as a number of officers tested positive for the disease.

The chief constable said: ‘This case concerns a protracted period, with the officer creating a fictional relationship where the other party was suffering from cancer and died.

‘This enabled supervisors to allow enhanced flexibility in his working.

‘These ‘truths’ were repeated and developed over a sustained period of time.’

He added: ‘While this case is not one that has compromised an investigation or involves the officer using powers in bad faith, it is more than a small irregularity.

Harry Sarkar (pictured), 21, a constable with West Midlands Police, ‘maintained a detailed tissue of lies to colleagues and supervisors about a fake girlfriend, her fake illness, her fake death, and subsequent fake funeral’, the force said

‘Given it concerns a lie about the serious illness or death of a partner, (and) was perpetuated for a considerable period to the team, and special allowances were created, it raises worrying character traits for the officer.

‘The public would not expect this from an officer and will be concerned over the obvious odious nature of such a misrepresentation.

‘I also feel there are aggravating factors. This was a regular repeated behaviour over a substantial period of time.

‘It was a significant abuse of trust with colleagues and supervisors. There’s no obvious mitigation or reason to excuse this behaviour.’

Concluding the hearing, he said ‘no other sanction would have been suitable and officer would have been dismissed without notice and accordingly’.

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