Officers charged over ‘destroying evidence’ in child abuse inquiries

Two Essex Police officers face charges over alleged failings in child abuse investigations.

Feb 8, 2018

Two Essex Police officers face charges over alleged failings in child abuse investigations. Detective Constable Sharon Patterson and former Detective Constable Lee Pollard have both been charged with three counts of misconduct in public office. The officers, who previously worked in the North Child Abuse Investigation Team (NCAIT), are accused of falsifying charging decisions, forging a complainant’s signature, misrepresenting evidence to senior officers and destroying exhibits. The Crown Prosecution Service was passed a file of evidence in February 2017 and has now informed the officers that it has authorised the charges against them. They are scheduled to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on March 9. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been managing 55 investigations into alleged failings by officers in the NCAIT between 2011 and 2014. Another four officers, ranked from detective constable to detective sergeant, will not be prosecuted but one will face gross misconduct proceedings. IOPC regional director Sarah Green said: “These are very serious allegations over how police officers handled some of the most sensitive cases brought before them. “The investigative phase has now concluded, on what has been a comprehensive and extensive IOPC managed investigation, during which more than 160 witnesses gave statements and 26 officers were interviewed for either criminal offences or misconduct matters and in excess of 500 exhibits were categorised.”

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