A former top detective has been given a suspended jail sentence for harassing a female student after he became a university lecturer.
And the Evening Post can reveal ex-Det Supt Martin Kay had previously attracted a complaint, alleging he sent ‘inappropriate’ text messages, while he was a serving officer with Lancashire Police.
It leaves questions about how he was able to gain a position working with young people
No formal proceedings were brought against Kay in 2011 at the request of the woman detective constable involved. He was moved from that division and later promoted.
But now that case is being reviewed by the force’s own Professional Standards Department, after it emerged Kay’s past conduct was not revealed when he got a job at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, as a lecturer on counter-terrorism. He was even given a reference.
Kay, 52, who is married with two grown-up children, pleaded guilty to harassing the 25-year-old student. He has since resigned.
Lancaster Magistrates’ Court was told Kay harassed the female student between January and July this year.
He admitted pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment in that he contacted her after being told on several occasions not to, and that the contact was at times sexual in nature.
Magistrates yesterday handed down a 16-week prison sentence, but suspended it for 12 months.
They also ordered Kay, of Samlesbury, to complete 200 hours’ community service and pay £1,000 compensation to his victim.
Several disgruntled police officers in the county voiced outrage about the handling of the original complaint, after learning Kay had been charged with harassing the student.
One retired officer told the Evening Post: “It leaves questions about how he was able to gain a position working with young people.”
Another said: “There was a lot of unhappiness at how it all came about. He was looked after. It’s a disgrace.”
Lancashire Police issued a statement denouncing the former detective’s behaviour, and announced a review of the way the original 2011 case was dealt with.
A spokesman said: “We utterly condemn Martin Kay’s admitted criminal conduct.
“While he has not been a serving officer since 2013, he was in a position of trust and his actions are at complete odds with the constabulary’s purpose of keeping people safe and protecting the most vulnerable in our society.
“Throughout his career, Martin was a competent and ultimately senior detective officer, with no formal disciplinary sanctions.
“But in 2011, he was spoken to by his managers about inappropriate and unwanted text contact with a female officer.
“This matter was dealt with at the time and was resolved informally in line with the wishes of the officer involved. Mr Kay was moved from his post and there were no formal misconduct proceedings.
“Lancashire Constabulary is clear on the standards expected from officers and staff in the way colleagues are treated and respected and any similar incident would be dealt with differently now. Because of that, we have referred the matter to our Professional Standards Department to conduct a review.
“We recognise the distress caused by Martin Kay’s behaviour, but it is ultimately he alone who bears responsibility for his actions.”
Kay, who was born in South Ribble, joined the force in 1983 as a PC in Blackburn. Later he worked at Hutton HQ in the Serious and Organised Crime Unit and also in Preston’s Intelligence Unit.
After the internal complaint, he was moved and shortly afterwards promoted to Det Supt with Special Branch.
He worked alongside colleagues from MI5, MI6, the Counter-Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard, the Home Office and the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, and was part of a team who completed a review of policing plans to negate the terrorist threat to the 2012 London Olympics.
He left the police in 2013 to take up a job as lecturer at UCLan.
The university received a complaint about Kay from a student earlier this year and co-operated with police during an investigation.
A UCLan spokesman said: “Martin was recruited following UCLan’s normal recruitment process, including obtaining a reference from his former employer.
“UCLan has a dedicated zero-tolerance harassment policy and takes matters of this nature very seriously. The university accepted the member of staff’s resignation as soon as it became aware of the allegation and provided full support to the student affected.”