Two Sussex Police officers dismissed for gross misconduct

Published: 16 Mar 2022

Two Sussex Police officers have been dismissed without notice for gross misconduct following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the force they used during the detention of a teenage girl.

At an accelerated misconduct hearing on Monday 14 March, led by Chief Constable Jo Shiner and organised by the force, it was found that PC Deborah Sands, aged 48, and PC Kris Green, 36, had breached the standards of professional behaviour, namely discreditable conduct, and both officers were dismissed without notice.

This dismissal relates to the conviction of both officers for assault by beating at a two-day trial held at Folkestone Magistrates Court in December 2021.

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said:

“Police officers have a duty to ensure the welfare of detainees and may only use force when it is necessary, reasonable and proportionate to do so. Our investigation raised serious concerns about the actions of both officers. Both officers went beyond what was necessary to ensure control of the girl in a custody environment.

“Both officers have now paid the price with their jobs, and will be placed on a barred list preventing them from future employment within the police service.”

The IOPC began an investigation following a referral from Sussex Police in July 2020, which related to the officers’ use of force against a 14-year-old girl who was detained during an incident in East Sussex on 19 May of that year.

Our investigation found that the officers had a case to answer for gross misconduct for their use of force against the girl, who had been reported missing.

When she was handcuffed inside a police vehicle and had a seatbelt secured, PC Sands sprayed her in the face with PAVA (an incapacitant), and PC Green issued a knee strike to her head, kicks to a leg, and applied a spit guard.

During our investigation, we analysed the BWV footage from the incident, and reviewed local and national guidance on use of force.

We took witness statements from all the officers present, and interviewed PC Sands and PC Green under criminal caution. We also reviewed the account the girl gave to the police following her arrest.

At the end of our five-month investigation, we submitted a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), who authorised a charge of assault against both officers.

  • Sussex Police
  • Use of force and armed policing