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Sussex Inspector dismissed for gross misconduct after 3-year suspension


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Anthony Lumb was found guilty at a hearing on Friday following an IOPC investigation after he formed relationships with five vulnerable women and engaged in sexual activity whilst on duty.


Date - 28th January 2020
By - Chloe Livadeas


A Sussex inspector has been dismissed after being found guilty of gross misconduct after he formed “inappropriate relationships” with vulnerable women.

The allegations first came to light in 2017 and the officer has been suspended on full pay for nearly three years as an IOPC investigation took its course. 

Anthony Lumb, who was based in Brighton,chose not to appear at the hearing at Sussex Police HQ in Lewes, East Sussex on Friday (24th January) to face allegations that he had breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy; duties and responsibilities; and discreditable conduct.

The panel heard that Mr Lumb, who had 27 years' service, ‘’took advantage of his position’’ to form ‘’improper relationships’’ with five vulnerable women. He also engaged in sexual activity whilst on duty between 2012 and 2016.

Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell, 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. Tony Lumb's behaviour is a violation of the trust that the public put in the police to serve and protect them. He has let down victims and his colleagues who carry out an enormous amount of good work with victims of serious offences every day. He has let down Sussex Police, the people of Sussex and vulnerable victims who must be able to trust those they turn to for help.

"Protecting vulnerable people is a key priority for Sussex Police and we have a responsibility to recognise abuse of power as a distinct area of corruption which deflects from the honourable work of our officers.

"For any member of the police service to pursue a sexual or improper relationship with a member of the public by using their role to gain an advantage is an abuse of their position and a form of serious corruption."

Mr Lumb was suspended when the allegations first came to light in 2017 and the case was referred to the IOPC for a full investigation.

The IOPC referred the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service in December 2017 who decided not to proceed with charges in October 2018 due to insufficient evidence. The case was then subject to a further review following a victim’s right of appeal which was not upheld.

CS Bell said: "Suspension is a neutral act and can be done for a number of reasons - primarily to ensure the integrity of an investigation, prevent interference with evidence or witnesses or because it is in the public interest to do so. 

"Suspension must be considered on a case by case basis - not least because the officers are being paid to work from taxpayers funds - and the alleged breaches of the standards of professional behaviour must be taken into account. However, sometimes, as on this occasion where the investigation was led by another agency and was also the subject of a criminal investigation, the time taken to conclude matters is not within our control.

"Similarly, the policy around payment while suspended is governed by terms and conditions set out in law by Parliament, known as Police Regulations."

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said:  "This showed an abuse of trust by a police officer dealing with vulnerable women who expected the police to protect them.

“Allegations that an officer may have been using his position to form relationships with women are serious and are of great concern to the local and wider community.

“The behaviour of police officers who abuse their position for a sexual purpose, particularly in respect of vulnerable persons, is a fundamental betrayal of the public and the values for which the police service stands.

“The vast majority of police officers consistently conduct themselves in accordance with high standards, but this case is a clear demonstration of reprehensible behaviour which no one is prepared to tolerate.

“Exploiting a position for a sexual purpose is a violation of the trust that the public put in the police to serve and protect them. Those who abuse their position have no place in the service, as this case has proven.”

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