Former North Yorkshire Police officer Rachel Hewitt was prosecuted after requesting time off work to spend time with her daughter who, she claimed, was undergoing chemotherapy in intensive care for cancer. It was later revealed that her daughter was in fact taking part in show jumping events during this time, and Ms Hewitt was taken to Hull Crown Court, facing allegations of fraud and misconduct in public office.
Ms Hewitt has now been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Judge Simon Jack said she had shown an “extreme breach of trust” by telling the lie for around two years before she was arrested in October 2011. She denied a further charge of fraud relating to a request for a career break to look after her daughter, with which the Crown Prosecution Service agreed it would not proceed.
Criminal fraud and misconduct notwithstanding, all businesses should have appropriate policies, procedures and systems in place to handle planned absences, like holidays, and unplanned absence, such as absence through sickness and injury. This set of downloadable template documents can help with this task.