Sussex police officer resigns after assault conviction

A GOVERNMENT minister will be contacted after a Chichester-based PC resigned from the force before facing an internal disciplinary process.

Michael Perkins, 49, who was a road policing officer based in Chichester, was found guilty of assaulting a female prisoner 
in 2011.

He appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court a year later in November, 2012, for a two-day trial, where he was convicted of common assault.

At the time of the trial he lived in Osprey Gardens, North Bersted.

The victim of the assault was a woman he was transporting to custody, after she had been arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

After his conviction, Sussex Police said the matter would be the subject of an internal disciplinary process.

Following an enquiry by the Observer in January, Sussex Police said the matter was on hold, while Perkins appealed his conviction.

However, he subsequently dropped the appeal and resigned from Sussex Police on March 16.

Following the resignation, Sussex police and crime commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne said last week: “I am particularly concerned if an officer resigns before an internal disciplinary review has been completed, and I will be writing to the relevant minister of state to raise this issue.”

She added any allegations of behaviour that did not meet the ‘highest standards of professional and personal conduct’ were treated seriously and thoroughly investigated.

She said: “I have included a specific target in my police and crime plan to increase public confidence and there are new, national, measures being proposed, designed to ensure the highest standards of police integrity.

“These include setting out clearer rules for how officers should conduct themselves and ensuring that officers who do wrong are investigated and punished.”

Meanwhile, deputy chief constable of Sussex Police Giles York said: “Sussex Police expects the highest personal and professional standards from anyone who works for us.

“We will rigorously investigate any incidents where these standards are not maintained and we will take action to ensure the integrity of officers and staff.”

In February, the House of Commons home affairs committee published a report on the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which stated every year around 200 police officers facing disciplinary panels retire or resign in order to avoid misconduct proceedings.

Following his conviction by magistrates in Hastings, Perkins was fined £495 and ordered to pay £900 costs.

He also faced a separate charge of using threatening words or behaviour, but was found not guilty.

Perkins was a police constable in the Chichester road policing unit.

In the period since the offence took place, the road policing unit has moved to Arundel from Chichester.