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Officer dismissed following misconduct hearing

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A police officer who sexually assaulted a woman has been dismissed without notice following a misconduct hearing.

Sgt Christopher Walls was found to have inappropriately touched the woman outside a bar in Bristol while off duty in December 2021.

He was additionally found to have made inappropriate comments to her as well as to a second woman.

The hearing, which was headed by a Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) independent of policing, found allegations of gross misconduct against the Bridgwater-based officer had been proven, following the four-day hearing.

The LQC also made the decision to lift Sgt Walls’ anonymity.

The sexual assault was subject to a criminal investigation, but it was deemed there was insufficient evidence to bring charges with the burden of proof having a higher threshold than a conduct matter.

Det Ch Insp Ayesha Giles, of the Professional Standards Department, said: “Inappropriate behaviour such as this has absolutely no place in policing and we will always take positive action when allegations are made to us.

“Where those allegations are proven, robust action will be taken, as shown by the outcome of this hearing.

“We’ve made it clear that all our officers and staff must uphold the high standards expected of them both on and off-duty, and they are expected to challenge and report incidents whenever these standards are not met. We have confidential systems in place for them to do this.”

Sgt Walls will also now be placed on the College of Policing’s barred list to prevent him working in policing or other law enforcement agencies in the future.

The full outcome notice will be published on the misconduct section of our website when it is available.