A FORMER Devon and Cornwall Police Sergeant has been found culpable of gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing.

A panel, led by independent legally-qualified chair Mr James Rickard, found that the actions of the officer had fallen below the expected standards of professional behaviour. The officer has been granted anonymity and will not be identified.

The panel said this was 'in respect of honesty and integrity; authority, respect, and courtesy; and discreditable conduct'.

It was alleged that, following the conclusion of an investigation in which the Police Sergeant was the investigating officer, he entered into a relationship with the victim. He was accused of abusing his position as a police officer as he knew the woman was a high-risk domestic violence victim.

The panel found that the officer was in breach of professional standards.

A hearing was initially opened in January 2023 but later adjourned for procedural reasons. The hearing resumed for a two day hearing in June 2023 where the panel concluded that the officer’s actions amounted to gross misconduct and he was dismissed without notice.

His details will be submitted to the College of Policing Barred List, preventing him from working within policing.

The full outcome notice is on the force website.

Head of Professional Standards Superintendent Jo Arundale said: ‘The actions of this officer were clearly unacceptable.

‘Through his actions, the officer undermined the public’s trust and confidence in the police force and did not fulfil his duties and responsibilities.

‘We will always take the appropriate action when standards fall below those expected and continue to learn from any instances.

‘If anyone suspects a member of the force is abusing their position then please report your concerns to us.’

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thorne added: ‘Devon and Cornwall Police takes any reports of inappropriate conduct extremely seriously.

‘All officers and staff are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics and ensure the highest standards of behaviour, both on and off duty.

‘We are committed to building trust and confidence which includes an unequivocal focus on allegations of police misconduct.

‘Any behaviour of this kind, especially when it involves a person who is vulnerable and has approached police for help and support, will not be tolerated.

‘We ensure that reports are investigated fully and quickly and will always take action when standards fall below those expected.’