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Sussex police officer dismissed after breaching standards of professional behaviour

A police officer has been dismissed from the force after having had allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour proven against him.

Sergeant Rob Adams, 39, who was based at Eastbourne, 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 (3 August). The LQC is appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner and is independent of the force.

He faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy and discreditable conduct after he was alleged to have made sexual advances to a sexual assault victim while he was on duty in March 2014. He then went on to send her inappropriate text messages including in an inappropriate photo of himself.  The victim reported this in December 2020.

The panel found the allegations against the officer proven and that this amounted to gross misconduct. He was dismissed without notice.

The officer had been referred to as Police Sergeant X during the hearing after he was granted anonymity by the LQC as he had made legal representations before the case was heard. 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. 

However following the outcome, having considered representations from the media and the force, the LQC decided that the anonymity order restricting the identification of the officer should be lifted and that he should be named.

Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell from the Professional Standards Department said: “Police officers must behave in a manner that does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence, whether on or off duty. All staff are aware of appropriate professional boundaries and the serious consequences of any abuses of position.

“The victim in this case came forward to report a sexual assault and should have received a professional and compassionate response. Instead, she was met with seriously inappropriate and unprofessional comments.  The decision to dismiss this officer is fully supported as there can be no place in the service for those that make sexual advances to any member of the public.”

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