Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Surrey police officer dismissed without notice after forming inappropriate relationship with teenager

A Surrey Police officer who forged an emotional relationship with a teenager has been found to have committed gross misconduct following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.

Police Constable Dean Atkinson-Sturt first met the teenager in 2006 as part of his duties working for Surrey Police as a police community support officer.

There is no suggestion he behaved inappropriately at that time. However, in December 2008 - when she was then 16 and he was 25 and a police constable - he made contact with her through Facebook and struck up a relationship.

In 2018 the woman made a formal complaint to Surrey Police about the PC Atkinson-Sturt’s behaviour which she believed had been inappropriate given his position as a police officer.

A referral was made to the IOPC and in April 2018 we launched an investigation which was completed in April 2019.

We concluded that the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct for using his position as a police officer to contact and form an emotional relationship with the teenager.

Surrey Police agreed and scheduled the hearing. A police disciplinary panel on 6 December found that PC Atkinson-Sturt breached police professional standards relating to discreditable conduct, honesty & integrity, authority and respect & courtesy and he has been dismissed without notice. The panel’s report has been published here 

IOPC regional director Sarah Green yesterday said:

“PC Atkinson-Sturt initiated a relationship with a minor and continued it for more than one and a half years. His behaviour was manipulative and took advantage of his position as a trusted member of society and the teenager’s desire to become a police officer. The panel found that when the officer was challenged about his conduct he deliberately lied about it, playing down the nature of the relationship.

“We are aware from our research that the public is rightly concerned about such abuses of power by police and one of our priorities this year has been to ensure that police forces identify and refer such matters to us as early as possible so that they may be quickly and effectively investigated.”


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