Sussex Police officers who had sex on duty dismissed from force | UK News
Two police officers who met for sexual liaisons while on duty have been found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed from the force.
Chief Inspector Rob Leet and Sergeant Sarah Porter were found to have conducted a relationship while at work and misused the Sussex Police system to arrange their meetings.
The pair exchanged more than 700 messages, including hidden text of a “graphic sexual nature” in emails and acronyms, and tried to hide the trysts from their colleague, the hearing was told.
Leet quit the force last month before he could face the allegations at a police misconduct hearing. However his dismissal means he will not be able to re-join.
He had been working there for 22 years and was two ranks about Porter.
Both he and Porter denied having sex on duty between August 2015 and February 2017.
Leet is a married father-of-four and Porter has a daughter with her ex-husband, also a police officer. She admitted kissing Leet but said it did not amount to sexual activity.
But the disciplinary panel in Lewes, East Sussex, found the allegation was proved at the hearing, and amounted to gross misconduct.
Porter was present at the hearing.
Chairwoman Victoria Goodfellow said: “The public would be appalled to learn two police officers were found in sexual activity at a time when they were supposed to be protecting them and upholding the law.”
Announcing the dismissal, Ms Goodfellow told Porter: “Your actions are likely to have caused harm to the reputation of Sussex Police and the policing profession.
“Your actions were for sexual gratification. You used your operational independence to further your relationship with Chief Inspector Leet and concealed your relationship, although we accept you were led in this by Chief Inspector Leet.”
Porter was found to have failed to attend a fatal crash on 3 July 2017, when she was uncontactable for 10 minutes.
The panel also found the allegation proved against Leet, but he did not attend.
Leet was also found to have taken advantage of a domestic abuse victim, who was “potentially vulnerable” by having sex with her.
He denied the accusations that he had developed an inappropriate relationship with a victim of crime while on duty, and denied the relationship with Porter.
At the hearing it was said Leet had an inappropriate relationship with the woman, referred to as Miss A, between November 2014 and January 2016, after meeting at a domestic abuse action group he chaired as a district commander.
Amy Clarke, representing Sussex Police, said what began as a friendship developed into a “sexual relationship which went on for some time”.
The pair met up while he was on duty, including at Miss A’s home, and exchanged messages of an “explicit sexual nature”, the panel was told.
Ms Clarke said: “Miss A is firmly of the belief that she was, in effect, taken advantage of by Mr Leet.
“There is also a clear gulf in power there. It should have been abundantly clear to Mr Leet that there was a potential vulnerability there that should not have been exploited.”
Ms Clarke said both Leet and Porter should be dismissed.
Porter, an officer for 18 years, returned to work in December 2017. Her lawyer Stephen Chippeck said she had faced an “agonising” wait for proceedings, as the allegations were made two-and-a-half years ago.
A letter from Chief Inspector Andy Gooch about Porter said: “I have found Police Sergeant Porter to be respectful and courteous throughout my own dealings with her.
“I have confidence in her ability and in her current performance.”
Mr Chippeck said Porter’s work involves “horrendous” duties in the road traffic unit.
The hearing was told she once received a certificate of congratulations and a humanitarian award for “putting herself in harm’s way” to rescue a man from the River Ouse, saving his life.
Mr Chippeck asked the panel to deal with her case in a “proportionate way” adding: “Allow her to continue to do the job she both loves and is good at.”