A ‘heavily intoxicated’ Cheshire social worker jumped on a taxi car bonnet and kicked the wing mirrors and windscreen wipers in a shocking rage-fuelled incident – all while the driver was sitting inside the car with a passenger.
Alain Nkurunziza was cautioned for criminal damage in June 2019 for causing significant damage to a taxi driver’s vehicle.
The social worker also damaged the roof of the vehicle by ‘laying on it’.
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The incident came to light in a case examination held by Social Work England (SCE) on September 13 as Alain did not inform them of the caution until December 2020.
In the case, which came before the examiners for the SCE, Alain claimed the incident was in reaction to being called a ‘racial slur’ by the taxi driver but the case examiners found that no allegation of racial abuse was recorded by the police.
Alain stated this was due to the ‘distress’ caused by being arrested and abused, therefore he did not want to use racial abuse as an excuse for his behaviour.
He also stated he was ’extremely remorseful’ for his actions and recognised the effect the incident has had on his ‘long-standing good character’.
He said: “I recognise the effect my actions had for the taxi driver, on valuable police resources, and most of all on my long standing good character and behaviour, and professional role
“I understand how this incident could lead Social Work England to question my understanding of professionalism and setting an example for social workers as a whole.”
It was heard that the social worker met the conditions of the caution and paid for damage to the vehicle ‘very quickly’.
The case revealed that evidence suggested the incident occurred on a public road while a passenger was inside and put the ‘safety and wellbeing’ of the passenger and others at harm.
It also stated that the actions of the social worker could ‘negatively impact upon the public’s trust and confidence’ in the profession.
Case examiners stated that Alain failed to disclose the arrest and caution in a ‘timely manner’ having received the caution in June 2019 but failed to report it until December 2020.
But it was also stated that there was no evidence to suggest the social worker did not disclose the incident deliberately.
Alain said: “Naively I assumed they would either inform the regulator on my behalf or that as they had completed their investigation and concluded no other action was required – that all actions needed to be taken were taken.”
The panel issued a 12-month conditions of practice order, meaning Alain must undertake 3 hours of CPD, agree to the appointment of a reporter approved by Social Work England and inform the regulatory body of any professional appointment.
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The case report from Social Work England said: “The social worker’s impairment does continue to pose some current risk to public safety as the concerns include receiving a caution due to physical violence towards property and a failure to disclose this to the regulator; they represent a serious departure from professional standards.
“Given this, outcomes of no further action, advice, or warnings are considered inappropriate on the basis that these will not sufficiently protect the public.
“The primary purpose of conditions of practice orders is to protect the public while the social worker takes any necessary steps to remediate their fitness to practise.
“The case examiners are of the opinion that this is appropriate. The evidence indicates the social worker accepts there is a case to answer and understands the seriousness of the allegations.
“Further, that their actions have demonstrated that they can comply with conditions of practice.”