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A POLICE inspector allegedly “groomed” five vulnerable women into having inappropriate relationships with him, a disciplinary panel heard today.
Inspector Anthony Lumb, who has 27 years of experience with the Sussex Police, is accused of having engaged in sexual activity while on duty between 2002-16, including with a traumatised witness of attempted arson.
Mr Lumb has denied that his actions amounted to gross misconduct and was called to face a disciplinary hearing yesterday.
But the suspended officer failed to show up at the hearing at Sussex Police HQ in Lewes.
The high-ranking officer was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office in March 2017.
He was eventually released after prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence against him.
Counsel for Sussex Police, James Berry, told the panel today that Mr Lumb would have known his conduct was unacceptable.
Mr Berry called his conduct an “abuse of authority for sexual gain” and a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour.
One of the complainants, Nicola Brookes, has Crohn’s disease and met Mr Lumb after being the victim of a disability hate crime.
Mr Berry said: “It is not alleged that Inspector Lumb’s contact was unwanted by Ms Brookes at the time, but her view is that, on reflection, she feels […] she has effectively been groomed because Inspector Lumb took advantage of her situation and his position.”
Another of the complainants, who cannot be named, first met Mr Lumb when he came to interview her about an offence of attempted arson that she had witnessed.
Mr Berry said: “She was very thin at the time. She was suffering with [chronic fatigue].
“It would have been apparent to then Sergeant Lumb from his very first meeting at her address that she was a vulnerable person.”
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