Three Sussex police officers and a former officer have had allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour proven against them.
The officers were the subject of accelerated misconduct hearings chaired by the Chief Constable at Sussex Police HQ, Lewes, on Thursday 28 April.
An accelerated misconduct hearing is held when there is incontrovertible evidence and it is in the public interest to remove the officer from service as soon as possible, or in the case of an ex-officer, to have them placed on the barred list.
The first hearing concerned PC Alan Harris, PC James Latter both aged 32 and based at Lewes and PC Ahmet Yapicioz aged 55 who was based at Gatwick who were all riding motorbikes while off duty when two of them were involved in a collision with a Ford Fiesta in Chilgrove near Chichester on 11 July 2020. They suffered multiple injuries and the driver of the car involved, an 80-year-old man from Chichester, and his passenger suffered minor injuries.
They later pleaded guilty at court to charges of dangerous driving and driving at a speed exceeding 60mph and were sentenced earlier this month to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and given an 18-month driving disqualification with extended retest required. They were also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 costs and victim surcharge.
In respect of the offences, they faced two allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour of discreditable conduct. The allegations were found to be proven and all three officers were formally dismissed from the force, although Latter had resigned just prior to the hearing.
The second case concerning former PC Ben Harman heard that following an internal investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Department, Harman 41, who was based at Crawley, admitted allegations that during his relationship with a woman colleague from July 2018, he sought to control that colleague’s actions and movements. He threatened and abused her, and otherwise used coercive behaviour, to enforce his control upon her.
This included behaviour such as sending an unreasonable number of messages to her on a daily basis, repeatedly requiring her to provide him with live updates as to her whereabouts and using threats and abuse to her in messages.
Additionally, when off duty, he admitted allegations that he had accessed confidential policing systems for investigations to which he was not assigned, and which were connected to the colleague he was in a relationship with.
His actions were found to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour; specifically, the standards of authority, respect and courtesy, duties and responsibilities, confidentiality and discreditable conduct and amounted to gross misconduct.
Therefore he would have been dismissed from the force, had he not already resigned in March this year.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “I expect our officers to act with the upmost integrity, and in accordance with the force’s values, the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Behaviour. The actions of these officers fell short of that, and there is no place in Sussex Police for such behaviour.
“I am extremely proud of the staff, officers and volunteers working for Sussex Police. The unacceptable conduct that has been heard today will not be tolerated. This poor behaviour should not overshadow the hard work of others.”