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Fedster

Officer denies skipping child abuse enquiries for 'lashings' of Chinese food with lover

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Fedster

Essex DCs accused of concealing evidence in misconduct in public office trial.

Not guilty pleas: DCs Lee Pollard and Sharon Patterson outside the Old Bailey

Not guilty pleas: DCs Lee Pollard and Sharon Patterson outside the Old Bailey

Date - 22nd February 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

 

An officer has denied skipping police work and not caring about victims in a child abuse investigation team to get a manicure and eat "lashings" of Chinese food with her married lover.

Essex detective constables Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of forging documents and concealing evidence over a three-year period.

Giving evidence, DC Patterson claimed she was only guilty of sarcastic remarks when asked about emails she sent in 2012 after she had split up with her police officer husband Andy over her romance with DC Pollard.

On April 24, she wrote: "I'm not even asking any questions ... I'm not interested. If I'm out doing that, I'm not picking any other shit up."

She told jurors any suggestion the email indicated she did not care about victims was "ridiculous" and it was just a "turn of phrase" she would use.

At 9.19am on November 23, she cancelled an appointment to view social services’ records to do with a case, saying: "I'm required to assist another officer with something more pressing."

DC Patterson said she could not now recall what it was that was more pressing.

At 9.33am the same day, she emailed DC Pollard saying: "I'm going to get my nails done in a minute – what colour would you suggest?"

Jacqueline Carey, defending, asked: "Were you cancelling your appointment to go and get your nails done?"

The defendant said it was just a "sarcastic remark", which was how she spoke to DC Pollard.

Ms Carey went on: "Would you cancel a social services appointment to see records to get a manicure?"

DC Patterson replied: "No. This job in particular had mountains of files. Two or three piles of them because of the amount of intervention (the individual) had had as a child from social service.

"I would not have cancelled a viewing at social services for this job to get my nails done, definitely not."

The court heard there was then a gap in emails of four and a half hours before an exchange with DC Pollard starting at 2.17pm about a Chinese restaurant.

DC Pollard told her: "Thank you for lunch. I love you."

DC Patterson wrote: "It was lovely to spend time with you. Thank you and I love you heaps!! LOL."

Her lover wrote back: "We ate lashings and lashings of Chinese grub."

DC Patterson replied: "And it was scrumptious."

She explained to jurors the Chinese in question was a buffet restaurant with uncomfortable chairs but lovely food.

DC Patterson said: "It's literally a place you go, eat, and leave half an hour, 45 minutes."

She denied the four-and-a-half hour gap in emails was due to getting her nails done and having a "long lunch".

Earlier, the mother-of-three told how her marriage broke down in late 2011 over the affair and she got divorced in 2013.

She described her then-husband as "very aggressive" but never violent during their relationship.

DC Patterson began seeing married DC Pollard a few months after he joined her team in autumn 2011.

Just before Christmas, her husband became suspicious and she wrote a text to DC Pollard saying: "Andy knows about us."

Instead of warning DC Pollard, she sent the message to her husband while she was at work by mistake.

She said: "Andy phoned me to say that he had received the message and he wanted me to get home right then."

When she arrived there was "lots of shouting" and her husband threatened that he was "going to kill" DC Pollard, the court heard.

After spending Christmas together, she went to Scotland to stay with her mother and refused to return until he had left the family home.

The defendant added she had been "scared what he might do".

By spring of 2012, she received a cash offer for the house and moved to a new home, she said.

Pollard left his wife Fiona for a short period in 2012 and they split up for good the following year, the court heard.

The witness said she continued her relationship with Pollard and they were still a couple.

The court has heard how allegations against the pair came to light when performance reviews were carried out into the child abuse investigation team, in the north of the county, which they worked in.

In her evidence, Patterson denied fabricating a note saying the mother of a complainant did not want to make a statement when she was actually willing.

She said if the woman had wanted to make a statement it would have helped the case.

The defendants, who live together in Colchester, Essex, each deny three counts of misconduct in public office between 2011 and 2014.

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Cathedral Bobby
27 minutes ago, Fedster said:

The defendants, who live together in Colchester, Essex, each deny three counts of misconduct in public office between 2011 and 2014.

In for a penny in for a pound. Shared a team, shared a bed, shared a dock.

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Fedster

Force apologises after 'cynical' couple convicted of sabotaging child abuse probes

'The public can be confident our organisation now is very different to where it was five years ago'.

Found guilty: Ex-DC Lee Pollard and DC Sharon Patterson outside the Old Bailey

Found guilty: Ex-DC Lee Pollard and DC Sharon Patterson outside the Old Bailey

Date - 15th March 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

 

A force left rocked and “shocked” has apologised to all parties caught up in the police sabotaging of child abuse investigations that today saw two rogue officers facing the likelihood of lengthy prison sentences.

Essex Police was in contrite mood after the Old Bailey verdict for “individual failings” and corporate responsibility in letting down victims between 2011 and 2014, reassuring the public it is a “different organisation” to five years ago.

Detective constables Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, forged documents, concealed evidence and lied about investigations out of laziness and "cynical disdain" for victims, the court heard.

The couple, who live together in Colchester, Essex, each denied misconduct in public office between 2011 and 2014.

DC Patterson was found guilty of one charge and cleared of a second, while former officer Pollard was convicted of two charges of misconduct.

The pair will be sentenced on May 3.

The convictions brought to a close a four-year corruption probe into the Essex Police North Child Abuse Investigation Team by the neighbouring Norfolk force and the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Some 30 officers, some now retired, were investigated, and of those, eight were subject to management action and seven officers were found to have no case to answer.

Five officers attended a formal misconduct meeting and of those, three were found to be proven and two were not proven. Five officers retired or resigned when the investigation began.

Five detectives were found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct, of those, two left the force prior to action being taken, one officer was dismissed and two were found to have criminal cases to answer.

Some 160 witnesses gave evidence, and 296 Essex child abuse cases looked at, of which 55 were referred to the police watchdog.

The defendants were the only ones to face criminal charges. A third officer – DC Peter Wood who worked at the same unit – was sacked last October for gross misconduct for lying during a child abuse case, it can now be reported.

A panel found that between June 2013 and August 2014, he failed to take appropriate steps to trace a suspect, he was also found to have made a dishonest entry on a force recording system and lied about a witness not being willing to provide a statement.

The misconduct – relating to falsifying charging decisions, misrepresenting evidence to their senior officers and destroying exhibits – came to light in 2014 after a victim complained her signature had been forged, and misspelled, on a statement taken by DC Patterson.

Following today's verdict, Essex Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet said: "Nothing is more important than protecting children. Today's trial has highlighted that between 2011 and 2014 we let a number of victims and their families down.

"Those victims had suffered child abuse, one of the most heinous crimes imaginable.

"At the conclusion of these court proceedings, on behalf of the force, I would like to reiterate our apologies to those affected – we are sorry."

He said the force "acted swiftly" as soon as concerns were identified and investigations were reviewed and, where possible, perpetrators brought to justice.

He said: "The individual failings, and ultimately my organisation's responsibility therefore, is something that really did shock the organisation.

"We took immediate steps to improve the way we were looking after these complex and vulnerable victims."

Essex police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst said: "I wholeheartedly echo the statements of Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet that nothing is more important than protecting children.

"Victims are at the heart of what we do and for these two officers, it is clear that this was not the case.

“I am confident that the procedures in place and the increased investment to improving the Child Abuse Investigation Teams means that the force has improved greatly, with efforts being recognised by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

"This year, we have provided funding which will enable the force to recruit an additional 215 officers on top of the 150 recruited following the 2018-19 budget.

"This will mean an extra 20 officers for the Crime and Public Protection Command, which investigates child abuse.

"However, we must not be complacent and we must ensure that the most vulnerable people in our society are never let down in this way again."

The court heard DC Patterson was even accused of ditching work to get a manicure and have a four-hour-long lunch at a Chinese restaurant with her married lover Pollard.

When she forged a document to shut down one investigation, Pollard described her as his "deceptive partner in crime" in flirtatious emails, jurors heard.

The pair denied wrongdoing, citing administrative chaos at the child abuse unit in north Essex where they both worked.

But prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said their behaviour went "beyond incompetence" and could not be put down to insufficient manpower or resources.

It can now be reported that in September 2015, Pollard was dismissed for gross misconduct.

According to a report at the time, he accessed, copied and disclosed another officer's computerised application for a job promotion without the individual's permission and then disclosed it to another officer who was considering applying for the same post.

It was described as "a deliberate and flagrant breach of honesty and integrity".

Following the conclusion of the trial, Patterson will be subject to consideration for internal gross misconduct proceedings.

Busola Johnson, from the CPS, said: "The two officers convicted today showed complete contempt for the positions they held.

"Through a mixture of dishonesty and laziness, Patterson and Pollard chose not to do their jobs to the standards the public is entitled to expect, and then lied repeatedly to cover up their failings.

"The crimes that they committed had the potential to undermine the trust of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

"Patterson and Pollard had a responsibility to protect the public, and they failed in that duty."

DC Patterson will now face internal gross misconduct proceedings will now face internal gross misconduct proceedings, according to ACC Prophet.

The assistant chief constable said: "On a personal level it strikes at your core as a police officer.

"I am a dad. I have two children. I come to work and my colleagues come to work to help people, to protect the vulnerable and catch those who break the law.

"Quite clearly, when we identified that on occasions we were not always getting that right - that was really impactful on my organisation.

"That is why we had a root-and-branch review to transform how we protect and investigate in these really complex cases.

"The public can, in my point of view, be confident that my organisation now is very different to where it was five years ago."

He said internal reviews had identified "concerns" at one of the force's specialist investigation centres.

He said: "Some of our investigative officers were not thoroughly and effectively investigating some allegations of child sexual abuse."

It found that some supervisors were not following the right processes in terms of supporting and directing those investigations and managing workloads between individuals and teams.

It also found that some frontline officers and staff when they were responding did not always identify risk and vulnerability and make proper referrals.

ACC Prophet said "immediate action" was taken to tackle the problems, including more specialist training, more support and clearer guidance for supervisors.

He said the "concerns" that were uncovered "related to 55 separate allegations of crime and within those 55 allegations there were 59 victims and there were 30 officers who were the subject of misconduct consideration".

He said: "A number were found to have no case to answer, a number were given very clear management advice, a number of those officers were the subject of a misconduct investigation and formal outcome.

"A small number, as exemplified by the outcome at the Old Bailey today, were the subject of gross misconduct and/or a criminal investigation."

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ParochialYokal

Essex Police are well known for their zealousness of enforcing traffic laws and dishing out tickets but they equally continue to embarrass themselves as being completely lacking in their investigative capabilities.

There is a long track record of failed investigations and rubbish detective work.

This deficiency appears even more profound when it relates to offences pertaining to sexual offences or where safeguarding is a consideration.

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Zulu 22
15 minutes ago, ParochialYokal said:

Essex Police are well known for their zealousness of enforcing traffic laws and dishing out tickets but they equally continue to embarrass themselves as being completely lacking in their investigative capabilities.

There is a long track record of failed investigations and rubbish detective work.

This deficiency appears even more profound when it relates to offences pertaining to sexual offences or where safeguarding is a consideration.

People in glass houses should not throw stones. There are failures in every Police Force but, sadly one bad example cancels out 1,000's of good jobs.

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ParochialYokal
People in glass houses should not throw stones. There are failures in every Police Force but, sadly one bad example cancels out 1,000's of good jobs.

 

There is something particularly lacking in the investigatory / detective capability of Essex Police.

 

 

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Funkywingnut
45 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:

People in glass houses should not throw stones. There are failures in every Police Force but, sadly one bad example cancels out 1,000's of good jobs.

You are only as good as your last job!

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ParochialYokal
You are only as good as your last job!

 

And Essex Police are consistently good at giving out speeding tickets. (Clap.. Clap... Clap...)

 

That doesn’t make them good at more nuanced police work- where they consistently fail.

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DaSpecialOne

Is no one going to question why if they both went for a Chinese buffet why they would he message her saying saying “we ate lashings and lashings of Chinese grub”
She was there, yes?

If the emails restarted at 2.17pm then I need to know where this buffet is that’s open at 9.30am.
Move over maccies breakfast, it’s all about the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet...

Also who uses the word “scrumptious” especially in Essex

And fancy texting the wrong bloke! What a muppet! A DC as well?

Too many questions, not enough caffeine...

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Radman
Posted (edited)
On 15/03/2019 at 18:30, ParochialYokal said:

 


There is something particularly particularly lacking in the investigatory / detective capability of Essex Police.
 

 

Interesting that... 

I work with an ex-Essex officer who has said something similar. He put it down to the 'good' officers being poached or leaving for better opportunities in Met land, apparently its a common problem with the HO forces surrounding London that alot of their cops move on to specialism with the Met

I'm only going off what I've heard third hand. 

BTP at the moment seems to be recruiting alot of very young cops, fresh out of college some of them (I can't complain I was 18 when I joined BTP) we too have a retention issue but historically we used to employ alot of ex-forces who seemed to have stuck around as part of the 'old guard.' 

 

Edited by Radman

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ParochialYokal

I hope that the both enjoy ‘lashings and lashings’ of prison food.

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