A former police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct by a panel, which found that they had acted in an inappropriate manner towards female colleagues, amounting to misogynistic conduct and harassment. The hearing, led by an Independent Legally Qualified Chair, was held at Sussex Police headquarters on April 27, and the officer was granted anonymity by the LQC after making legal representations before the hearing.
The former officer, referred to as Officer X, was accused of two allegations of sexual touching and one count of voyeurism that occurred off-duty in 2018 and 2019, and the victims were known to the former officer. Although they were arrested and charged with the offenses, they were found not guilty in a trial in May 2021. The former officer later resigned in November 2021, and the force’s Professional Standards Department referred the matter to a hearing in line with its robust stance on rooting out misconduct to maintain high standards.
The misconduct panel found that Officer X had breached standards of professional behavior in respect of authority, respect and courtesy, and discreditable conduct. This amounted to gross misconduct, and the ex-officer would have been dismissed without notice if they had not already resigned from the force. The former officer will now be added to the College of Policing Barred list, which will prevent them from returning 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.”