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Two police officers have been dismissed without notice having had allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour proven against them.
Sergeant Victoria Ambrose, 46, and PC David Mendes,46, were the subject of six-day misconduct hearing led by an independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) at Sussex Police Headquarters, Lewes, which concluded on Monday (March 6).
Sgt Ambrose was alleged to have breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of discreditable conduct, duties and responsibilities, challenging and reporting improper conduct and honesty and integrity.
PC Mendes was alleged to have breached professional behaviour standards in respect of discreditable conduct, duties and responsibilities, honest and integrity, authority, respect and courtesy.
A former police officer, Sally Agutter, 49, also faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour, but these were not proven.
It was alleged that Sgt Ambrose attended a hospital during working hours to support her friend known as Witness A and in so doing, neglected her duties and failed to declare a conflict. She gave a false account of her role in this matter and was aware that PC Mendes had met Witness A through his policing duties and he had formed an inappropriate relationship with Witness A. She had failed to challenge that conduct and gave false accounts of the relationship and encouraged PC Mendes to give false accounts.
It was alleged that PC Mendes had formed an inappropriate relationship with Witness A who he had met through performing his duties as a police officer. He failed to declare this relationship and gave a false account of his relationship with Witness A.
This was alleged to have happened between February and September 2020.
The panel found the allegations against the officers were proven and that this amounted to gross misconduct. They were dismissed without notice.
Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland, head of Sussex Police's Professional Standards Department, said: "We expect our officers and staff to act in accordance with the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Behaviour. The actions of these officers fell far short of these which is reflected in the findings by the panel.
“The unacceptable conduct that has been heard here will not be tolerated but this poor behaviour should not overshadow the hard work by the vast majority of our officers, staff and volunteers within Sussex Police."