Police officer sacked over cab fare row

A Metropolitan Police officer has been fired after refusing to pay a £24 taxi fare.

Nicola Elston, 30, was arrested in June last year for sunbbing the cab driver after being dropped off at her home in Croydon following a night out with other police officers.

The driver also accused Elston of punching him in the stomach during the row but was cleared of assault charges during her three-day trial at Southwark Crown Court in March.

Elston, who served in the police force for seven years, claimed she had left the fare in the taxi before getting out, but was found guilty and ordered to pay a £150 fine and £1000 in damages.

Following her conviction, Elston was placed on restricted duties, but after a Metropolitan Police Service misconduct disciplinary hearing she has now been dismissed without notice.

At the hearing, on September 15, Elston was found to have undermined public confidence and discredited the police service.

Representing Elston, Sergeant James Southgate told the panel that Elston “believed what she was doing was correct at the time, although jaded through drink”, adding that she was “devastated” by the conviction.

Southgate said: “Since the incident, she has carried on attending work and working hard in the Missing Persons Unit.”

Assistant Commissioner Helen King said that Elston “Continued to push blame onto others” after she gave evidence that made allegations against the cab driver, and that she “did not accept responsibility for her actions in pleading guilty”.

King said: “I have to consider very carefully the aggravating factors and what London rightfully expects of a Metropolitan Police officer.”

King concluded that Elston had breached the Met’s standards for professional behaviour, and that comments made by the judge along with her actions amounted to gross misconduct so serious that she could no longer continue her work for the Met.

In a statement, Elston said: “I apologise for this matter, and in hindsight, I should have dealt with it in a different manner.”

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