Detective ‘violated public trust’ as he engaged in ‘sexualised’ behaviour

Hastings based Detective Constable Damien Cotgreave would have been dismissed from the force following multiple breaches of professional standards if he had still been a serving officer. 

The 45-year-old former DC who was based in Hastings, appeared at a misconduct hearing at Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes on Monday.

The panel, headed by an independent, legally-qualified chairperson, found 18 of the 20 allegations to be proven. 

These included:

  • Engaging in conversations via social media with 12 female members of the public using his personal mobile telephone, while on duty, over a period of several months from December 2019 to February 2020.
  • Some of these conversations included inappropriate content, such as sexual images or exhibits, or were sexual in nature.
  • On one occasion, the officer is alleged to have attended the address of one female for in excess of an hour while on duty, for a non-policing purpose, and engaged in sexualised behaviour.

Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell, head of the force’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. Former DC Damien Cotgreave’s behaviour is a violation of the trust that the public put in the police to serve and protect them. 

“Cotgreave conducted this unacceptable behaviour when he should have been responding to his policing duties and this falls well below the standards expected in Sussex Police and across policing nationally.

“Officers and staff can be forgiven for making genuine mistakes but the behaviour of this officer was inexcusable, for which we sincerely apologise.”

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