THE Argus can today reveal the identity of police officers who were kicked out of the force without the public being told their names.

An investigation into previously unearthed records has found the names of Sussex Police officers secretly dismissed at the direction of the force's then Chief Constable.

Their breaches range from sexting using police phones on duty, drink-driving on their way to work, attempting to sell a warrant card holder on eBay, and accessing police systems for "close associates".

Although Sussex Police made their names secret, the disciplinary process meant they went on to the public College of Policing Barred List. All barred officers should be placed on a public list, except in cases that would cause serious harm, government regulations state.

The Argus reported on the existence of these secret dismissals in December and has now carried out an investigation in collaboration with the New Statesman into records of officers dismissed for serious breaches.

In December Sussex Police said every hearing has an appointed Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) and it is their responsibility "alone" to determine whether or not a hearing is held in public or in private.

However, they have now told us that an LQC did not preside over four of the seven secret dismissals that The Argus has found on the College of Policing's barred list.

In fact, the breaches and disgraced police officers were kept from the public at the direction of the force's then Chief Constable Giles York. This practice is within policing regulations.

Dismissals may be “heard in private" when the naming of an officer could risk the identification of a vulnerable victim, or it may affect the welfare of the officer themselves.

However, Home Office guidance states that the presumption should “be of transparency where possible”.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: "Sussex Police follows regulations set nationally by the Government in all police misconduct cases.

"Gross misconduct hearings are chaired by a Legally Qualified Chair, appointed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and who operate independently of the police.

"Within these regulations, in cases where evidence of gross misconduct is incontrovertible, the Chief Constable can instigate an accelerated process, leading to instant dismissal.

"In this way, the Chief Constable can take swift action in the public interest and thus avoid lengthy and costly proceedings. According to regulations, in regional forces these meetings must be chaired by the Chief Constable."

The National Police Chiefs' Council states that Chief Constables do not decide if a case is chaired by them at an accelerated hearing. It is a decision of a lower delegated appropriate authority (normally the Deputy Chief Constable) and by law, they must determine whether ‘special conditions’ are met for an accelerated guidance.

These special conditions are determined by the Home Office:

• There is sufficient evidence, in the form of written statements or other documents, to establish on the balance of probabilities, that the conduct of the officer concerned constitutes gross misconduct and

• It is in the public interest for the officer concerned to cease to be a police officer without delay.

Between 2018 and 2020 then Chief Constable Giles York chaired a total of 15 gross misconduct hearings. Of those, he decided to hold eight in private.

The following cases were found on the public Police Barred list. According to legislation, no information should be put on the list that would be against the interests of national security, might prejudice the investigation of criminal or civil proceedings or result in a "significant risk of harm" to any person.

Kept secret by the ex-Chief Constable:

Ex Chief Constable Giles York presided over the following special case hearings and decided they would be held in private following representations. The public and press were not invited.

These special meetings were:

Sergeant Joseph Paul Wilding, who was kicked out on January 25, 2019, after failing roadside and custody breath tests when stopped on his way to work.

Mr Wilding was "charged with driving with excess of alcohol contrary to the Road Traffic Act".

Christopher Kenneth Mallett, who was kicked out on December 12, 2019. It is alleged that he had placed a warrant card holder belonging to Sussex Police for sale on eBay.

He completed an application form for a new warrant card holder "claiming falsely that his existing warrant card holder was faulty".

In his police interview, he claimed that an officer advised him that once the warrant card holder was handed back that would be the end of the matter. "This was a lie," the Barred List record added.

His Inspector required him to hand back the warrant card holder which he had put up for sale on ebay. PC Mallet gave him a different one.

Additionally, while on duty, he made access to Niche records - police records - relating to close associates on two occasions. There was believed to be no policing purpose for these checks.

Christopher Newby, who was kicked out on December 16, 2019. The officer in the Public Order Training Unit was found to be conducting multiple relationships with women while on duty.

The Argus: Ex-PC Chris Newby, far left, collecting a reward in 2016

Ex-PC Chris Newby, far left, collecting an award in 2016

This included sex texting and telephone sex using his police issue mobile phone.

A total of five hours and 38 minutes of sex-related phone calls were identified by phone billing history as happening while the officer was on duty.

This created "suspicion of a neglect of duty".

The Barred List record added: "An individual has been identified from text history associated with PC Newby's force issue mobile phone, conducting a telephone sex relationship with him in the 2017 period.

"Some text exchanges indicate she was aware he was on duty at the time of their texting each other sexually lewd material. Allegation presents as one of discreditable conduct complimented by a failure to challenge her colleague."

Patrick Christopher Pearce, who was kicked out on May 4, 2020.

The barred list record states: "During a Special Case hearing allegations were found proven against former officer Patrick Pearce, all three amounting to Gross Misconduct.

"The three matters related to 'Orders & Instructions', 'Authority, Respect & Courtesy', 'Duties & Responsibilities', 'Confidentiality' and 'Honesty & Integrity'.

"It was decided that had the officer remained in service, he would have been dismissed with immediate effect."

The Argus asked Sussex Police what these three allegations were.

A spokeswoman replied: "This was a special case hearing chaired by the then Sussex Chief Constable Giles York that was held in private after representations made by the Police Federation on behalf of the officer.

"We are therefore not able to provide any more detail on the specifics of the allegations."

Kept secret by a Legally Qualified Chair (LQC):

The Argus has previously reported on two other officers dismissed in private at the direction of an LQC. These were:

James Breeds, who was kicked out on May 6, 2020. Breeds' "Regulation 16 response" contained lies that were subsequently identified in interview and through the text messages sent to another.

The Barred List record added: "Comments made about his role in the police and laws protecting young people from sexual acts.

"Failed to follow Force Policy 1176/2018 Notifiable Associations by neglecting to notify an association with a person with a criminal conviction."

Mr Breeds previously claimed to The Argus that he was unjustly shown the door because the force believed him to be a whistle-blower. This is denied by Sussex Police.

Patrick George Baker, who was kicked out on August 31, 2018.

The Barred List record said: "Subject on three separate occasions breached the Confidentiality standard by accessing records regarding individuals of personal interest, held within Policing systems, for a non-Policing purpose, and for requesting colleagues carry out location checks on vehicles of personal interest, also for a non-policing purpose"

The Argus can also reveal another dismissed officer who was given anonymity by the LQC.

Sussex Police faced controversy after an officer accused of causing the collapse of two major drugs trials was given anonymity.

A disciplinary panel ruled she could only be referred to as "Officer A" throughout despite having previously been named in court.

The public Barred List names her as Jane Walker, who was kicked out on December 29, 2020.

The Barred List states: "During the course of an investigation you failed to include all of the CCTV footage provided on disclosure schedules in compliance with the CPIA 1996, compromising the criminal investigation.

"Such behaviour amounts to a breach of the following Standards of Professional Behaviour: Duties and Responsibilities, and Discreditable Conduct

"During the course of the investigation you failed to disclose three discs containing mobile phone data in compliance with the CPIA 1996, compromising the criminal investigation. Such behaviour amounts to a breach of the following Standards of Professional Behaviour: Duties and Responsibilities, and Discreditable Conduct

"On the 1 May 2019, you emailed the Financial Investigator asking them not to mention that the CCTV existed. Such behaviour amounts to a breach of the following Standards of Professional Behaviour: Honesty and Integrity, and Discreditable Conduct"

More secret police remain

The Argus has managed to find the majority of the names of officers on the Police Barred List who were kept secret. However, some cases still remain secret.

Sussex Police told The Argus that between 2018 to 2020, 39 officers were kicked out of the force for gross misconduct.

Of those, 11 were held in private.

It may be the case that these officers were not published on the barred list as details would be against the interests of national security, might prejudice the investigation of criminal or civil proceedings or result in a "significant risk of harm" to any person.