A POLICE officer groped his colleague on a work night out as an inspector watched – and did nothing.

Brighton-based PC Alexander Walsh, 33, bombarded his victim with sexual propositions while she was “held” in a patrol car for more than an hour in the dark last year.

He hounded her to send “risque” pictures via the Snapchat app, but she declined.

Walsh, who was dismissed by Sussex Police last month after pleading guilty to common assault and stalking, also took pictures of the woman without her consent while on duty.

He was initially charged with sexual assault and pleaded not guilty.

However, he admitted the lesser crime of common assault, which was accepted by the courts.

Walsh’s victim described him as “creepy” and “slimy”, adding: “He pressured me for an hour in the complete darkness knowing I didn’t know where I was.”

In a victim impact statement, she said: “I was held in that car for an hour with somebody I barely knew. There was a constant barrage of sexual suggestions. I was frightened and had no idea what he intended to do.”

Prosecutor Barry McEldruff said the experience had been “harrowing” for the woman. The attack happened in front of a woman inspector and a group of other officers.

It left her “shocked and mortified” and she initially blamed herself for what happened.

But in time she realised his crimes were not her fault, adding: “I avoid social situations now even in the company of my closest friends, I’m anxious and don’t feel safe.”

The claims only came to light when the victim later raised concerns with a superior officer. Walsh was questioned and suspended.

When interviewed, he said he was drunk and did not remember touching the woman. He said he “wanted to have a fling with her, thinking it was reciprocated”, adding the pictures were taken as a joke.

Sarah Elliott QC, defending, said his behaviour was “foolish”. He thought he was just being “flirtatious” but this was a “misinterpretation” of the situation. She said: “He did not understand his behaviour was unwelcome.”

The court was told Walsh’s wife, who he married last month, supported him throughout the case. He now works in sales and was diagnosed with depression earlier this year.

Walsh, of St Michael’s Place, Brighton, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday. He was given a 12-month community order and ordered him to complete 15 days of rehabilitation, 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £800 in court costs.

In response to the case, a Sussex Police spokesman said: “The inspector did not see and was not immediately made aware of this off-duty incident, and the two officers who did witness it mistakenly believed it to be consensual.

“As soon as it was reported, an investigation was launched and Walsh was suspended.

“We are adopting and implementing the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s national strategy to address the issues of police officers and staff who abuse their position for a sexual purpose.”