COUNTY NEWS: Senior policeman investigated over '˜improper sex' claims

A Sussex Police inspector is being investigated for misconduct after allegations he had '˜improper sexual relationships' with women.

Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) arrested the Brighton-based inspector for misconduct in a public office on Thursday (March 2) as part of the investigation. He has since been bailed, but has been suspended by Sussex Police.

The police force said allegations were referred to the IPCC that the police officer had ‘improper sexual relationships’ with women in the course of his duties.

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Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said: “While I can’t comment on the investigation, I would like to reassure the public that protecting vulnerable people is a priority for Sussex Police and we take any report of inappropriate behaviour extremely seriously,

“We have a responsibility to recognise abuse of power as a distinct area of corruption, behaviour which deflects from the honourable work of the vast majority of officers. Vulnerable victims must be able to trust those they turn to for help.

“Within the force we have a confidential referral system for anyone who suspects or witnesses inappropriate behaviour.

“People can be confident that any report will be investigated and addressed.”

IPCC investigators said they had made a search of the man’s workplace and home and have also attempted to contact some of the women concerned.

An IPCC spokesperson said: “These are clearly serious allegations that require an independent investigation. Allegations that an officer may have been using his role to form relationships with women will be of concern to the community and it was necessary to take the investigative step of arresting him and conducting searches to secure evidence.”

The IPCC has also launched a witness appeal. If anyone has any information that may help the investigation they can contact the IPCC on 0800 015 4877 with the reference ‘Operation Nectarine’ or email [email protected]