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Former police sergeant found to have breached professional standards over misuse of ‘PAVA spray’

A former police sergeant has had allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour proven against him.

Former PS Ian Cheesman was the subject of a three-day misconduct hearing by a panel led by an independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) at Sussex Police Headquarters, Lewes, which concluded on Wednesday (7 September).

He faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour in respect of Use of Force, Orders and Instructions, and Duties and Responsibilities after he was alleged to have used captor spray on two occasions on a detainee when it was not deemed necessary, proportionate or reasonable.

On the second occasion the captor spray was discharged less than three feet from the detainee and proper aftercare was not provided to the detainee.

This was alleged to have happened on December 29, 2020.

The panel found the allegations against the former officer proven, and that this amounted to gross misconduct. Had the officer not retired from the force, he would have been dismissed without notice.

Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell from the Professional Standards Department said: “We expect our officers and staff to act with the upmost integrity, and in accordance with the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Behaviour. The actions of this officer 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.”

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