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Sussex officers dismissed after wrongful stop and search

One officer was dismissed from the force without notice, while the other would have been dismissed had they not already resigned.

PC Hayley Noyes and former PC Alice Price were found guilty of gross misconduct after the wrongful detention and search of a man found with cannabis. 

PC Price had detained and searched a motorist at Felpham, Bognor Regis on December 31 2019 and was then involved in his further detention after discovering cannabis and a penknife in his possession. 

However, serious conduct allegations against her were being investigated at the time and she was restricted from wearing a police uniform and engaging in public facing policing activity. 

She did not make a statement recording her actions in detaining the motorist, and did the same for an additional incident on January 12 when she dealt with a suspected shoplifter, also failing to give an accurate record of the incident to senior officers. 

Upon detaining the motorist in December, PC Price contacted PC Noyes who travelled to the scene, neither questioned nor reported the breach of restrictions and proceeded to cover up PC Price’s actions. 

PC Noyes changed another officer’s account of the incident, however the latter officer raised concerns leading to an IOPC investigation which lasted 10 months. 

Former PC Price, who resigned in March, and PC Noyes were both found to have breached standards of professional behaviour for honesty and integrity, orders and instructions and discreditable conduct during a misconduct hearing this week. 

PC Noyes was also found to have breached the standards for duties and responsibilities and reporting improper conduct.

Actions against the detained motorist were dropped once the allegations came to light. 

Sussex 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 and former colleague fell far short of these which is reflected in the findings by the panel.

“I am very proud of the vast majority of our staff, officers and volunteers working hard in Sussex Police to protect our communities, catch criminals and deliver the outstanding service that the public rightly expect. The unacceptable conduct that has been heard in this case will not be tolerated but should not overshadow the hard work of so many others.” 

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “The fixed penalty notice issued to the man who was detained for drug possession was rescinded because of concerns over the officers’ actions. Behaviour of this kind, involving dishonesty, undermines the police service and has the capacity to impact negatively on public confidence in policing. 

“The panel chair described what the officers did as deliberate and premeditated operational dishonesty, and the seriousness of the allegations proven is underlined by the sanctions.”

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