Two police officers Sharon Patterson and Lee Pollard facing criminal charges over alleged mishandling of child abuse investigations


TWO police officers are facing criminal charges over the way they handled child abuse cases.

Following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) two Essex Police detectives will face charges of three counts each of misconduct in public office.

Det Con Sharon Patterson and former Det Con Lee Pollard both previously worked in the North Child Abuse Investigation Team (NCAIT).

The charged offences relate to falsifying charging decisions, forging a complainant’s signature, misrepresenting evidence to their senior officers and destroying exhibits.

A file of evidence from this investigation was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service in February 2017 and the two officers have now been notified that the CPS has authorised charges against them.

In relation to four others officers the CPS has determined that the evidence does not support a prosecution.

One remains a serving detective constable and will now face gross misconduct proceedings.

IOPC regional director Sarah Green said: “These are very serious allegations over how police officers handled some of the most sensitive cases brought before them.

“The investigative phase has now concluded, on what has been a comprehensive and extensive IOPC managed investigation, during which more than 160 witnesses gave statements and 26 officers were interviewed for either criminal offences or misconduct matters and in excess of 500 exhibits were catalogued.

“After reviewing the investigation reports there was an indication that some current and former officers may have committed criminal offences.

“Following the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to charge we will be working with them to bring this matter before the courts and every effort has been made to notify the survivors involved in those cases.”

The IOPC has been managing a total of 55 investigations into alleged failings in child abuse investigations carried out by officers in Essex Police’s NCAIT between 2011 and 2014.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “The IOPC investigation relates to cases investigated by Essex Police between 2011 and 2014.

“We made the initial referrals to IOPC and since 2014 have made comprehensive changes to the way similar cases are investigated.

“Independent inspections of the force concluded in 2017 that Essex Police has made ‘significant improvements in the way in which it recognises and responds to people who are vulnerable.’

“While the ongoing proceedings mean that Essex Police cannot comment in detail on the charges or the IOPC investigation, the force has apologised to children and families affected by failings in our investigation and we reiterate that apology today.”

 

The Braintree and Witham Times 7th February 2018

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