A police officer may face criminal charges after an independent investigation into his behaviour while on duty.

Inspector Tony Lumb was suspended after the allegations he had engaged in improper relationships with women in Sussex in the course of his duties were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

He was arrested for misconduct in public office in March 2017 as part of an IPCC investigation known as Operation Nectarine.

The officer, based at Brighton police station, was released from bail in May 2017 at the conclusion of his interview under criminal caution.

Following the completion of its investigation, the IPCC has referred a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

IPCC operations manager Catherine Hall said: “These are clearly serious allegations that required an independent investigation. We now have evidence to suggest the officer may have committed a criminal offence and therefore have referred a file to the CPS.

“In addition, the investigation has also found the officer has a case to answer for gross misconduct and we will now be in discussion with Sussex Police regarding any disciplinary hearings.”

A referral to the CPS is made when the IPCC investigation indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed.

However it does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow.