A POLICE officer used his handcuffs for “sexy foreplay” after picking up two women in his patrol car.

Sussex PC Stephen Butcher admitted using his marked car as a “blue light taxi” while on duty, a tribunal heard.

One woman, named only as Miss A, put on the cuffs and the officer’s hat after he picked her up from a night out in Hove.

The tribunal found the officer guilty of gross misconduct and gave him a final written warning.

Victoria Von Wachter for Sussex Police said PC Butcher, 44, thought he was on a promise and described putting on the cuffs and hat in his patrol car as “sexy foreplay”.

“You’ve got the handcuffs on her and you were looking forward to a very interesting night with her,” Ms Von Wachter said.

The officer denied there had been any sexual conduct in the patrol car.

“My friend got in, we said hello, kissed, very non sexually,” he said.

“It was purely a greeting. They’d had a good evening. They weren’t drunk.

“I don’t think her friend had ever been in a police car, so they messed around with the handcuffs for a bit.”

Divorced PC Butcher, a traffic officer based at Arundel, visited Miss A another 11 times.

He stayed with her for lengthy periods while he was on duty between October 2017 and May 2018, the disciplinary hearing was told.

He denied ever being unavailable for work or carrying on a sexual relationship with Miss A while on duty.

The tribunal heard Miss A asked him to pick her and a friend up from a night out in Hove on April 1, 2018.

Once in the patrol car Miss A tried on handcuffs and the hat while her friend took pictures, Ms Von Wachter said.

The disciplinary hearing at Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes was told the officer endangered public confidence in the force.

Ms Von Wachter said: “Not only was he acting as a taxi service for inebriated women, he was engaging in sexual behaviour, then parked outside the female’s address and then he disappears inside her house for an hour and a half.

“He handcuffed one of them, made sexually inappropriate comments like ‘you are hot, I’d do anything for you’.

“He kissed Miss A on the lips and that is recorded on the video.

“There is also a period where the video is covered up, there are a few sound effects.

“The incident of sexual behaviour in public, in a marked police car, constitutes gross misconduct.”

PC Butcher admitted he visited the woman 12 times between October 2017 and May last year while on duty.

He told the hearing he visited her to drink tea.

Asked how he could carry out his duties while sitting in a kitchen drinking tea for an hour, he replied “you can’t”.

The officer, who joined Sussex Police in 2001, was given a final written warning after the panel said he had betrayed the trust of the public.

PC Butcher said: “I’ve let myself down and Sussex Police and you will never know how disappointed I am in myself.”