Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Officers accused of ignoring their duty to meet up for sex are dismissed

Two Sussex Police officers who had sex while on duty have been dismissed from the force after a panel ruled their actions constituted gross misconduct.

The officers, Chief Inspector Rob Leet and Police Sergeant Sarah Porter, had denied that their relationship was sexual but following a hearing which opened on 15 April an independent panel ruled they had breached professional standards of behaviour.

PS Porter was dismissed without notice. Ch Insp Leet resigned from Sussex Police prior to the hearing but as a result of the panel ruling will be placed on a barred list.

Sussex Police became aware the pair may have been engaged in an affair at the start of 2017 and began a covert investigation into their behaviour.

Details of this became public in March 2017 and as a result a second woman, a former victim of domestic violence referred to during proceedings as Miss A, came forward to state she had been engaged in a sexual relationship with Ch Insp Leet between late 2014 and early 2016.

We initially began investigating the allegations made by Miss A but in May 2017 we received a voluntary referral in relation to the conduct of the two officers and launched a second investigation.

Our investigations were completed in August 2018 when we concluded both officers had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said:

“These two officers ignored their duties to their community and their colleagues to pursue a relationship for their own personal gratification during working hours.

“Our investigation found that this even led to PS Porter failing to be available to attend a fatal crash while she was on call.

“Ch Insp Leet was also in a relationship with a woman who he knew was a victim of domestic violence who he met for sex while he was on duty.

“The inappropriate behaviour of these two officers has brought Sussex Police into disrepute and I hope the decision of the panel to dismiss the officers will send a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”

As part of our investigation we searched both officers’ homes and seized electronic equipment they used to communicate. 

We examined thousands of emails and text messages shared between the two officers between 2016 and 2017, as well as GPS data taken from police vehicles they used and their work schedules.

We also examined the emails and text messages shared between Ch Insp Leet and Miss A between 2014 and 2017.

Both officers were interviewed on more than one occasion. We also interviewed Miss A, as well as obtaining documents that corroborated details she provided about her alleged meetings with Ch Insp Leet.

We found evidence to suggest the officers travelled to meet during work when there was no work-related purpose, and repeatedly used Sussex Police communications systems to exchange messages where there was no work purpose.

The panel ruled that the pair did engage in sexual activity while on duty and this constituted gross misconduct. The panel ruled the misuse of police communications systems was misconduct.

The panel also found that Ch Insp Leet engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with Miss A and met her to have sex while on duty and this was gross misconduct.

The panel ruled that PS Porter’s failure to be available to respond to a fatal road traffic collision was misconduct.


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