Sussex detective Damien Cotgreave sent explicit photos while on duty

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe detective declined to appear before the disciplinary panel at Sussex Police HQ

A detective who sent explicit photos of himself to women while on duty showed "blatant disregard" for his job, a panel has found.

Damien Cotgreave, a former drugs expert at Sussex Police, also visited a woman at her home during a two-hour absence from his post, a disciplinary hearing in Lewes was told.

He faced 21 allegations, 18 of which were found proven in his absence.

Mr Cotgreave resigned from his post in October 2020.

The 45-year-old declined to appear before the disciplinary panel at Sussex Police HQ on Monday.

Panel chairwoman Nicola Talbot-Hadley said: "The pattern of conduct of this officer whilst on duty showed a blatant disregard for his role as a professional serving the public."

The panel announced that he would have been sacked had he not already resigned from the force.

'Distracted from duties'

Louise Ravenscroft, bringing the allegations, said: "The communications are either sexual in nature, which included the sending of sexualised images or videos, or the communications are inappropriate in sheer volume."

A number of the allegations involved Mr Cotgreave sending pictures of his penis.

Ms Ravenscroft argued the conduct had been "distracting Mr Cotgreave from his duties" and said all but one of the allegations had taken place while he was on duty.

The officer had accepted he attended the address of a woman despite having no policing purpose, on one occasion in February last year.

Mr Cotgreave had denied an allegation that he gave her a massage while he was there.

The visit, which took place while he was on duty, amounted to a two-hour absence from his post, the panel heard.

Ms Ravenscroft said: "He is clearly visiting her for his own personal reasons to advance the relationship as opposed to doing his work."

Another allegation involved Mr Cotgreave exchanging messages of a "sexual nature" with a 19-year-old woman, the hearing was told.

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