Northumbria Police officer had sex with domestic abuse victims

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image copyrightNorthumbria Police
image captionMalcolm Bennett drove to see both women while he was on duty

A police officer who had sex with two domestic abuse victims would have been sacked if he had not already retired, a review has found.

PC Malcolm Bennett, who worked for Northumbria Police, began a 12-month relationship with one woman in September 2016.

He started a further liaison in April 2017.

A disciplinary hearing has concluded five allegations of gross misconduct to be proven.

Bennett visited the women while on duty and wearing his uniform, having driven to their homes in a police vehicle.

He also unlawfully accessed police computer systems for information about two other vulnerable women to whom he sent texts of a sexual nature.

'Abuse of trust'

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigated Bennett with an independently-chaired Northumbria Police panel concluding the former neighbourhood policing officer breached standards of honesty, integrity and confidentiality as well as engaging in discreditable conduct.

The investigation was concluded in August 2018 and Bennett retired the following month.

In August 2019, at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court, he pleaded guilty to offences under the Data Protection Act. It is not clear what sentence was imposed.

Following the misconduct hearing, Miranda Biddle, the IOPC's regional director, said officers "who abuse their position of trust and power by seeking and engaging in improper sexual relationships have no place in policing".

Supt Steve Ammari, Northumbria Police's head of professional standards, described Bennett's actions as "completely unacceptable".

Following the panel's ruling, Bennett has been barred from returning to policing.

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