Former Essex Police officer guilty of filming sexual assault after night out

A former Essex Police officer has been convicted of sexually assaulting a woman and filming it after a night out.

Feb 16, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Essex Police

Steven Tissier, 37, thought the woman was asleep on a sofa when he touched her leg, thigh and bottom. Later, after she woke up and was waiting for a taxi to take her home, he sexually assaulted her again, by groping her breast under her top.

The following day she told a friend about what had happened, and shortly afterwards reported it to the police.

The attack happened in Chelmsford in the early hours of March 10, 2022 after Tissier and the victim had been on a night out in London with other people.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said during the investigation five short videos were found on Tissier’s phone showing him assaulting the victim while he thought she was asleep. He sent them to a friend a few hours after the victim went home.

Giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court, the victim said she had woken up when Tissier first touched her but pretended to be asleep because she was frightened and hoped he would stop.

Tissier denied the charge but was found guilty by a jury on Thursday (February 15). He will be sentenced on 8 March.

Jane Foster from the CPS said: “A big focus for the prosecution was the evidence recovered from Steven Tissier’s mobile phone which showed him sharing evidence of his assault with two friends.

“It included WhatsApp messages and a photo, sent while the victim was asleep before the attack, and video clips of the assault sent to another friend.

“This also revealed a Snapchat conversation he had with the victim some days before the attack when he suggested ‘a threesome’, a suggestion that the victim rejected, which demonstrated that his sexual interest in her was not reciprocated.

“When he thought the victim was asleep Tissier acted on those feelings despite there being no indication that the victim was consenting to sexual activity with him and no reasonable belief on his part that she was.”

During the investigation by the Essex Police professional standards department, a number of other issues of gross misconduct, which were not connected to the criminal investigation, were uncovered. These were dealt with separately in an accelerated misconduct hearing ahead of the trial.

A restriction on publication of that outcome was put in place to protect the integrity of the criminal trial.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington found that Tissier would have been dismissed without notice had he not already resigned ahead of the hearing.

The hearing heard that the former police constable was alleged to have breached standards relating to honesty and integrity, authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity, orders and instructions, duties and responsibilities, confidentiality and discreditable conduct.

It was alleged that Tissier displayed behaviour, actions or words which were misogynistic and was alleged to have sought to meet others while isolating due to Covid-19, in 2021.

He was also alleged to have shared restricted information with others without a valid policing purpose.

It was further alleged that Tissier did not disclose notifiable associations and had engaged in substance misuse.

The allegations were heard at an accelerated misconduct hearing on Friday 19 January. Former PC-Tissier did not attend but was represented by the Essex Police Federation.

Of the nine allegations, Mr Harrington found seven had been proven at gross misconduct. Those which were not proven related to using misogynistic language while one of the three elements of the allegation relating to the disclosure of policing information was not found to be proven.

He was also placed on the police barred list.

Tissier’s resignation came into effect on January 18, and he had been suspended from duty since the criminal allegation was made to the force in March 2022, said Essex Police.

Mr Harrington said: “Ex-PC Tissier is no longer a police officer, but I must first address the fact that this deplorable criminal act took place while he was a serving officer, though he was not on duty.

“Like all ex-PC Tissier’s colleagues, I am horrified by his actions and my first thoughts are with the victim and those close to her. People like this have no place in policing.

“Policing conduct is rightly under the spotlight, but I want to assure the public that where there is shocking behaviour, as in this case, we will deal with it.

“I want the people of Essex to have the confidence and trust that the officers and staff in this force serve with integrity and have compassion and public service at the centre of everything they do.

“Ex-PC Tissier’s actions will of course damage that trust and the trust of the overwhelming majority of staff and officers who work hard every day to keep this county safe. They too will be horrified.

“Our professional standards department investigate all reports made to them without fear or favour and that work ensures that those people who should not be in our force are weeded out.”

He added: “We expect our officers to live by the oath they’ve taken – fairness, integrity, diligence, impartiality – as they strive to help people, keep people safe and catch criminals. And the vast majority do.”

In 2023, 25 officers and specials were dismissed from Essex Police, or would have been dismissed if they had not already resigned. Mr Harrington personally oversaw 11 of those conduct hearings.

“In the same period, 71 potential officers or specials who did not hold our high standards and values were turned away thanks to our robust vetting procedures, which have been labelled as ‘good’ by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services,” said Essex Police.

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