Essex child abuse team detective Sharon Patterson sacked

Lee Pollard and Sharon Patterson Image copyright PA
Image caption Lee Pollard and Sharon Patterson were found guilty of misconduct in public office

An Essex detective who faked forms in a child abuse investigation has been sacked for gross misconduct.

Det Con Sharon Patterson, 49, was convicted of misconduct in a public office at the Old Bailey in March.

She will be sentenced on 3 May with her partner Det Con Lee Pollard, 47, who was convicted of the same offence.

At a special hearing at Chelmsford Civic Centre, Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington said her actions undermined public confidence.

Det Con Patterson, from Colchester, was found guilty of falsely updating a form to show how the investigation was progressing and also faked a form from a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer to suggest no further action would take place.

The special hearing, chaired by Mr Harrington, found her conviction constituted gross misconduct and ordered her to be dismissed without notice.

Mr Harrington said it was an important deterrent for potential perpetrators of child abuse that police would investigate allegations thoroughly.

He said: "There must be harm in the confidence of the victim and their family in this case.

"Failing to deal seriously with these matters undermines public confidence in the police."

The allegations against the officers, who now live together in Colchester, came to light when performance reviews were carried out into the child abuse investigation team in which they worked.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sharon Patterson and Lee Pollard's trial was held at The Old Bailey in March

Their convictions brought to a close a four-year corruption probe into the north Essex Child Abuse unit by the neighbouring Norfolk force and the police watchdog.

Thirty officers, some now retired, were investigated and 296 Essex child abuse cases looked at, of which 55 were referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Det Con Patterson and Det Con Pollard were the only ones to face criminal charges, but a third officer was sacked for gross misconduct last year.

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