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Crawley police officer dismissed after persuading sexual assault victim to deny claim

A police officer who avoided investigating a sexual assault by persuading the victim to say that the incident did not take place has been dismissed.

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PC Steven Morris (CM070), 48, who was based with the investigations team at Crawley, appeared before a public gross misconduct hearing at Sackville House in Lewes on March 4 to answer allegations that he had failed in his duties and responsibilities as a result of the incident reported in Horsham.

The panel heard how PC Morris, who had served for 18 years, improperly pressurised a potential victim of a sexual assault into signing his pocket note book stating that no assault had taken place. Once the failing came to light, the offence was properly investigated.

Having considered the evidence, the panel, which was independently chaired, agreed that the allegations did amount to gross misconduct and PC Morris was dismissed without notice.

Detective Superintendent Steve Boniface, head of Sussex Police’s Professional Standards Department, said:

“We expect the highest possible standards of our officers and staff and we take any report of inappropriate behaviour extremely seriously.

“PC Morris’s behaviour was a violation of the trust that the public put in the police to serve and protect them. He failed the victim of this crime and let down his colleagues who carry out an enormous amount of good work with victims of serious offences every day. He let down Sussex Police and the people of Sussex.”

Detective Chief Inspector David Springett from Sussex Police Public Protection Unit added:

“Over the past four years, a lot of work has gone into the training and development of staff and we now have specialist Safeguarding Investigation Units (SIUs), which give our investigators in-depth knowledge and experience of investigating sexual offence cases, stalking and domestic abuse.

“Our response has been further enhanced within the last year by the introduction of our Sexual Offence Investigation Trained (SOIT) team, the first such unit in the country to include police staff and newcomers to the force as well as police officers. They act as a single point of contact for victims and are on hand to support victims throughout a criminal investigation from initial reporting right through to court proceedings and beyond.

“We take reports of crime seriously and confidentially and I would urge anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence, no matter when it happened, to report it to us.”

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‘Blood all over the road’ Stabbing in Broadfield last night only 150 yards from Primary School closes road

The cordon is not expected to be lifted till the afternoon.

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Police have cordoned off part of Seymour Road in Broadfield as they investigate a stabbing.

It occurred last night only 150 yards from a Primary School.

Officers were informed by ambulance a man had been injured in Seymour Road, Broadfield around 1.25am on Friday (May 24).

The victim, a local man in his 40s, was walking home when he was approached by another man, who had his face covered, and assaulted. He was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

A scene guard currently remains in place.

Chief Inspector Rosie Ross said:

We would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the assault or thinks they saw the victim either before or after the incident.

“We are relying on witnesses to provide first-hand accounts of the assault which is vital to aid our investigation.

“Serious violent crime in Crawley, which is not associated with other types of criminality, is rare.

“Communities will see an increase in high visibility patrols and we are encouraging witnesses to speak to those officers with any information they have.”

One resident said:

“I live yards from this and didn’t hear a thing last night. There’s blood all over the road!”

Anyone who witnessed the assault or has information on the incident is asked to report online or call 101 quoting Operation Gull.

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