A POLICE officer who interfered with a domestic assault investigation into her friend has been kicked out of the force.

The Sussex Constable – named only as "X" due to a decision to keep her name from the public – was dismissed without notice on Friday.

Another officer involved in the case, PC Russell Felgate, was also dismissed. A third officer received a written warning.

It follows an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which described the case as "police corruption" that "erodes trust and confidence".

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “PC X was a personal friend of the alleged suspect and was also known to the alleged victim.

"As such she was in a position of trust and abused that to exert improper influence over the complainant and attempted to interfere with the investigation being carried out by her colleagues.

"Without doubt this kind of police corruption erodes trust and confidence in the police and anyone who behaves in such a way can have no place in policing."

On August 13, 2019, a woman called Sussex Police reporting she had been assaulted by her employer at an address in Chichester.

PC Felgate and another officer attended the incident. PC X was already at the address. She was off duty at the time but had been allegedly notified of the incident by the suspect, who was her personal friend.

PC Felgate and the other officer spoke with the alleged suspect and complainant. They made no arrests and did not take any further action.

Nine days later, the woman contacted Sussex Police again, stating she had been under duress from PC X not to provide a statement and not to pursue the allegation of assault.

In September 2019 The IOPC began its investigation after a complaint referral from Sussex Police.

As part of the investigation, PC X was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and corruption in relation to the reported assault. The IPOC looked at evidence including her mobile phone records and that of the suspect.

The suspect for the alleged domestic assault was also investigated by the IOPC on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. IOPC investigators also interviewed PC Felgate and the other attending officer, analysed their body worn video footage and obtained numerous witness statements.

Criminal charges against PC X and the suspect for the alleged domestic assault were considered and a file was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS decided not to bring any criminal charges against either of them.

Sussex Police agreed with the IOPC that the three officers - PC Felgate, PC X and the other attending officer - had a case to answer for gross misconduct and arranged for the disciplinary proceedings to take place.

An independently chaired disciplinary panel found gross misconduct proven against Police Constable X and PC Russell Felgate at a hearing organised by the force on Friday, 16 July, and they were dismissed without notice.

They were both found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour for honesty and integrity; authority, respect and courtesy and duties and responsibility. Additionally, PC X was found to have breached the standards of equality and diversity, and discreditable conduct. PC Felgate also breached confidentiality standards.

PC X cannot be identified owing to a direction made by the disciplinary panel.

A third PC received a written warning for misconduct after it was proven they breached the standards of professional behaviour in respect of duties and responsibility for failing to investigate the alleged domestic assault.

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