Two Sussex police officers have been dismissed from duty without notice following allegations of professional misconduct against them. Sergeant Victoria Ambrose, 46, and PC David Mendes, 46, were both the subject of a six-day misconduct hearing led by an independent Legally Qualified Chair at Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes. The hearing concluded on March 6, 2023.
Sgt Ambrose was accused of breaching standards of professional behaviour relating to discreditable conduct, duties and responsibilities, challenging and reporting improper conduct, honesty and integrity. Similarly, PC Mendes was accused of breaching professional behaviour standards relating to discreditable conduct, duties and responsibilities, honesty and integrity, authority, respect, and courtesy.
According to the allegations, Sgt Ambrose neglected her duties when she attended a hospital during working hours to support a friend, known as Witness A, and failed to declare a conflict of interest. She was also accused of giving a false account of her role in the matter and encouraging PC Mendes to give false accounts of his relationship with Witness A.
PC Mendes, on the other hand, was accused of forming an inappropriate relationship with Witness A, who he had met through performing his duties as a police officer. He failed to declare the relationship and gave a false account of it.
Former police officer Sally Agutter, 49, also faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour, but these were not proven.
The panel found the allegations against Sgt Ambrose and PC Mendes were proven and amounted to gross misconduct. Therefore, both officers were dismissed without notice.
In response to the decision, Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland, head of Sussex Police’s Professional Standards Department, stated that the unacceptable conduct demonstrated by the officers would not be tolerated. He also emphasized that the vast majority of Sussex Police officers, staff, and volunteers work hard to uphold the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Behaviour.