Former officer who gave false details on police application guilty of gross misconduct

A former Sussex Police officer who provided “false and misleading information” in his application to join the force would have been dismissed without notice had he not already resigned.

Sep 9, 2022
By Paul Jacques

A misconduct hearing heard that the officer, known as ‘former officer X’, also engaged in “a sexual act” with a female member of staff in a police station and stole a “controlled substance” that was evidence in a live investigation.

Following the one-day hearing at Sussex Police Headquarters that concluded on Thursday (September 8), the panel found the allegations against former officer X proven, and that this amounted to gross misconduct.

The officer had been granted anonymity by the panel’s legally qualified chair LQC after making legal representations before the hearing.

He faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour in respect of honesty and integrity, authority, respect and courtesy, duties and responsibilities, and discreditable conduct after he was alleged to have:

  • Knowingly provided false and misleading information in his application to become a constable with Sussex Police and for the purpose of vetting;
  • Stolen a controlled substance, diazepam, which was evidence in a live criminal investigation, from police property and falsified evidence bags to seek to hide his actions; and
  • Engaged in a sexual act with a member of police staff, Female A, at Brighton police station.

This was alleged to have happened between April 2017 and April 2020

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. The actions of this officer fell far short of the standards and integrity expected by Sussex Police, 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.”

Sussex Police said 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,” it added.

At an earler misconduct hearing that concluded on Wednesday (September 7), a former police sergeant had allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour proven against him.

Sergeant Ian Cheesman, who has retired from Sussex Police, 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 3ft from the detainee and proper aftercare was not provided to the detainee.

The former officer faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour in respect of use of force, orders and instructions, and duties and responsibilities.

Following the three-day misconduct hearing, the panel found the allegations proven, and that this amounted to gross misconduct. Had the officer not retired from the force, he would have been dismissed without notice.

Chief Supt Bell 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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