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A former officer has had gross misconduct allegations proven against them at a disciplinary hearing after a panel found they had acted in an inappropriate manner with female colleagues which amounted to misogynistic conduct and harassment of women.
A misconduct hearing was held at Sussex Police headquarters on 27 April in front of a panel led by an Independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC), who directed that the officer would remain anonymous.
LQCs are selected from a list of independent, legally-qualified persons to conduct police misconduct hearings, and are governed by Police Conduct Regulations. LQCs work with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and others to instil and embed as much transparency and proportionality into misconduct hearings.
The former officer, referred to as Officer X, was granted anonymity by the LQC after making legal representations before the hearing. It is the responsibility of the LQC alone to determine whether or not a hearing is partially or wholly held in public or in private, and whether any participant should be anonymised. Sussex Police are directed by and must abide by rulings made by the panel chair.
The hearing heard that the former officer, 37, who was based on East Sussex division, was accused of two allegations of sexual touching and one count of voyeurism. This occurred when they were off duty in 2018 and 2019 and the victims were known to the former officer.
A criminal investigation was carried out and they were arrested and later charged with the offences. Following a trial in May 2021, they were found not guilty.
The former officer who was suspended later resigned in November 2021. The force’s Professional Standards Department then progressed a misconduct investigation and referred the matter to a hearing in line with its robust stance on rooting out misconduct in order to maintain high standards and deliver an outstanding service to the public.
As a result, the former officer was alleged to have breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy and discreditable conduct.
The breaches were proven by the misconduct panel and it was determined that this amounted to gross misconduct. Former Officer X would have been dismissed without notice, had they not already resigned from the force. The ex-officer will now be added to the College of Policing Barred list which will prevent a return to policing.
Superintendent Petra Lazar, deputy head of Professional Standards said: “We expect our officers to act with the utmost integrity, and in accordance with the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Behaviour, and we have invested in a comprehensive programme of cultural change towards challenging, reporting and tackling unethical or unprofessional behaviour. Criminal behaviour, misconduct, and misogyny have no place in Sussex Police.
“The actions of this officer in this case fell far short of the standards we expect, which is reflected in the findings by the panel.”