Former Sussex Police officer took fireworks during search, misconduct hearing told

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A former police officer took a box of fireworks during a search of a property and misused police records, a misconduct hearing at Sussex Police HQ was told.

Sussex Police said today that the officer would have been dismissed if he still worked for the force in the wake of the investigation’s findings.

The case of ex-PC David Seal, 43, who was based on East Sussex division, went before a misconduct hearing held at Sussex Police headquarters today (Monday, April 22), in front of a panel led by an Independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC). He did not attend the hearing.

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LQCs are selected from a list of independent, legally-qualified persons to conduct police misconduct hearings, and are governed by Police Conduct Regulations.

Sussex PoliceSussex Police
Sussex Police

LQCs work with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and others to instil and embed transparency and proportionality into misconduct hearings.

Sussex Police said the hearing was told that the ex-officer while carrying out a section 18 search of a property in East Sussex seized a box of fireworks without a lawful purpose and did not book them into a property store in line with force policy. He also used police record systems to inappropriately and for no policing purpose, police added.

Sussex Police added that his behaviour was reported to the force’s Professional Standards Department who undertook an investigation and found there was a case of gross misconduct to answer.

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Police said the panel found the officer’s actions had breached Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of honesty and integrity, duties and responsibilities, orders and instructions, confidentiality and discreditable conduct and determined that this amounted to gross misconduct.

Had the officer not resigned from the force on May 9, 2023, he would have been dismissed. He will now be added to the College of Policing Barred list, police added.

Detective Superintendent Jon Robeson, deputy head of the force’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Police officers must behave in a manner that does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence, whether on or off duty.

“The unacceptable conduct that has been heard here will not be tolerated but this poor behaviour should not overshadow the hard work by the vast majority of our officers, staff and volunteers within Sussex Police.”