Hearing finds former police officer committed gross misconduct

A special case hearing was conducted over Skype on Thursday Picture: ARCHANT

A special case hearing was conducted over Skype on Thursday Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

An ex-police officer committed gross misconduct by having an improper relationship with a member of the public and sharing images of a crime scene online.

Pc Matthew Lusher would have been dismissed had he not resigned before a special case hearing found him guilty.

Lusher was alleged to have abused his position for sexual purpose, breached confidentiality and potentially compromised a criminal investigation.

The 27-year-old joined Suffolk Constabulary in October 2018 as a neighbourhood response officer at Bury St Edmunds police station.

A hearing chaired by Chief Constable Steve Jupp and attended by Police Federation’s Darren Harris took place in Lusher’s absence following his resignation on March 30 this year.

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Another officer had reported Lusher’s relationship with a member of the public to the professional standards department last May.

Lusher met the woman after responding to a report of domestic violence two months earlier and was alleged to have engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship, knowing she was vulnerable.

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The case was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct for investigation, which led to another allegation following examination of Lusher’s phone.

A subsequent inquiry, led by a detective in the anti-corruption unit, centred on Lusher’s deployment to guard a crime scene following a stabbing, in Bury St Edmunds, last April.

He was alleged to have entered the scene without a policing purpose before it was examined – thereby potentially compromising the investigation – and taken videos and photos of a kitchen and bedroom on his mobile phone – later sharing them with others on social media.

In the absence of any representations, Mr Jupp said there was sufficient evidence to find Lusher’s actions constituted gross misconduct on the balance of probabilities – and that it was in the public interest to put his name on the police barred list.

A police spokesman said: “The highest level of personal and professional behaviour should be demonstrated by those serving with us to ensure the public have confidence in their police force.

“The behaviour of the officer was found to have fallen below the high standards expected.

“Pursuing a personal relationship with a victim of crime is a serious abuse of an officer’s position.

“Such behaviour undermines public confidence, which is why it’s important these hearings are publicised, so communities are aware of action taken by the force when conduct falls short of the standards expected.”

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