Police inspector sacked for leaking stories to Brighton reporter

Posted On 14 Dec 2015 at 10:14 pm

A Sussex Police inspector has been sacked for leaking stories to a Brighton reporter.

Inspector Lee Lyons, 40, who was based in Hastings, was the first officer to have his misconduct hearing dealt with in public after a change to disciplinary rules.

He is accused of leaking information to former Argus crime reporter Anna Roberts, who was not named in the case papers published by Sussex Police.

But the Argus stories detailed in the paperwork carry her byline. She has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The force said that Inspector Lyons was “dismissed from Sussex Police after a special case hearing considered more than 20 allegations against him”.

Lee Lyons

Sussex Police said: “Mr Lyons’s hearing was heard at the force headquarters in Lewes on (Monday) 14 December, the first public hearing for a Sussex Police officer following their introduction nationally earlier this year.

“The hearing, chaired by Chief Constable Giles York, heard that over a period of around three years Lee Lyons had accessed force computer systems on numerous occasions using information obtained to pass details, including restricted operational documents, to two journalists working on publications in Sussex, a television news programme producer and a barrister – all females.

“The incidents were predominantly in the East Sussex area and breached the Sussex Police policy on the security and handling of information.

“Additionally, among the 21 allegations, some of which had multiple elements, it was found that he had inappropriate contact with prostitutes while on duty and was accused of bullying behaviour while working on a major operation out of force.”

Detective Inspector Nick Wainwright said: “The incidents came to light when very sensitive details of four cases were passed over a matter of a few days to a journalist who then sought clarification of the information.

“As a result of this, Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney tasked the anti-corruption unit with identifying the source of the leak and a host of other incidents were discovered.

“Some of these took place while Lyons was on duty. Others, including the passing on of restricted operational documents, were carried out off duty.

“He was suspended on (Thursday) 2 October 2014. No complaint has been received about the matter from an external party.”

Miss Pinkney said: “Sussex Police expects the highest personal and professional standards of anyone who works for us and any allegations of behaviour that do not meet those standards will be rigorously investigated.

“Lyons was passing on information that was operationally sensitive and may well have had an effect on victims or their families or may have had a negative impact on community tension.

“I asked our anti-corruption unit to investigate and Lyons was identified as the potential source.

“The investigation has been complex but as soon as he was identified, we immediately suspended him.

“While I am saddened that it has been necessary to take such action at all, I am pleased with the result, which highlights our determination not to allow people like this to taint the name of Sussex Police and the enormous amount of work carried out day to day by thousands of hard-working and enormously dedicated police officers and staff.”

Mr Lyons has the right to appeal against the decision.

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