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Two ex-police officers in Essex jailed after sabotaging child abuse investigations | UK News

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Two former detective constables, who showed “contempt” for child abuse victims, have been jailed after being found guilty of sabotaging investigations.

Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, who were working in a “crisis-hit” police unit, faked documents, hid evidence and lied about inquiries due to laziness and a “cynical disdain” for vulnerable people, the Old Bailey heard.

The judge, Nigel Lickley QC, said the rogue pair chose to stop investigations, rather than put in the work, with the belief that they would never be found out.

He said: “People relied on you to do your job to the standard expected. You abused that position for your own selfish purposes.”

The judge said if the pressure of work was a factor, then they should have asked for help, instead of acting like prosecutors.

Jurors were told that when Patterson forged a document to shut down one of the inquiries, Pollard called her his “deceptive partner in crime” in flirty emails.

The court heard how Pollard destroyed four indecent pictures of a complainant in a case whilst it was still being investigated.

He also failed to look into an allegation of sexual touching by a teenager, and then lied by saying no further action was to be taken on CPS advice.

The couple, from Colchester in Essex, denied the accusations between 2011 and 2014, instead blaming administrative chaos at the child abuse unit.

The couple were sentenced to time in prison
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The couple were jailed at the Old Bailey

In March, Pollard was found guilty of two charges of misconduct in public office, with Patterson being convicted of one similar offence.

Pollard was jailed for two years and Patterson was sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

The convictions ended a four-year corruption inquiry at the Essex police unit which was carried out by the Norfolk force and the police watchdog.

Around 30 officers, with some now retired, were investigated and 296 child abuse cases were looked at – 55 of which were referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Patterson and Pollard were the only ones who faced criminal charges, but a third officer was sacked for gross misconduct last year.

The case came to light in 2014 after a victim complained her signature had been forged and misspelled on a statement taken by Patterson.

Pollard was dismissed in September 2015 for gross misconduct and Patterson was also sacked, following her conviction.

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