Former Sussex officer had inappropriate relationships with three women
A former Sussex Police officer resigned after it emerged he had formed inappropriate relationships with three vulnerable women he met in the course of his duties.
An accelerated misconduct hearing heard that former police constable Sam Bate, 26, would have been dismissed if he had remained with the force.
Following an investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), former PC Bate faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour in respect of honesty and integrity, orders and instructions, duties and responsibilities, confidentiality, authority, respect and courtesy, and discreditable conduct.
From May to August 2020, he was alleged to have formed an inappropriate relationship with two women, referred to as Ms A and Ms B at the disciplinary hearing.
He exchanged around 500 text messages with Ms A and the content indicated a sexual relationship was being pursued by both parties.
Between the same dates, he met Ms B for coffee after she invited him out following them meeting during the course of a criminal investigation involving potential motoring offences. They exchanged 150 text messages and met for a second time.
From October 2019, he had been in touch professionally with Ms C. In January 2020 they exchanged texts with a view to meeting for coffee. Although the meeting never happened, the woman told investigators this contact further impacted on her vulnerability.
He also searched their police records via Sussex Police computer systems without a policing purpose and failed to properly investigate a road traffic incident (RTI) relating to one of the women.
The former officer had already admitted the allegations held against him, and resigned in January ahead of the hearing.
IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “Former PC Bate took advantage of vulnerable women and the pattern of behaviour he demonstrated has absolutely no place in policing.
“Abuse of position for sexual purpose is a form of serious corruption. He also neglected to perform his duties when investigating a road traffic incident and this action damages public confidence in the police.
“This outcome imposed by this police hearing should provide a clear message to any officer who misconduct themselves in such a way, that they will be held to account and can and will face serious consequences for their actions.”
Sussex Police Chief Constable Jo Shiner, said: “We 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 the officer 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 here will not be tolerated. This poor behaviour should not overshadow the hard work of others.”