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Sussex officer given written warning for misuse of computer systems

A Sussex officer has been given a written warning after he used police computer systems to look up a woman he had met on duty.

The officer, who was granted anonymity by the chair of the disciplinary panel, met the woman while investigating a theft she had reported in 2017. 

Allegations that he had formed an inappropriate relationship with her and not reported it to supervisors were found not proven. 

There was evidence, however, that he accessed information relating to her, her family and her ex-husband via police computer systems in 2018. Four out of the five allegations were found proven. 

The IOPC launched a seven month investigation following a referrall from Sussex in May 2020. The force’s disciplinary hearing concluded on Tuesday with misconduct found proven. 

The officer declined to provide an account for the investigation or comment when interviewed under caution. 

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “This officer breached Sussex Police policy by accessing its computer systems for a non-policing purpose.

“Actions like this undermine the public’s trust in police officers who should know that it is entirely inappropriate to use police computer systems for personal reasons.” 

Deputy Chief Constable Julia Chapman said: "We expect our officers to act with the upmost integrity, and in accordance with the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Behaviour. The actions of the officer fell far short of these which is reflected in the findings by the panel.”

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