A Thames Valley Police sergeant has been demoted after it has been found he lied about having a relationship with a junior colleague.

In a misconduct hearing between April 22 and 24, a panel heard that police sergeant Mark Ashby “pursued a sexual relationship” with a junior female constable in his team.

The panel heard that the relationship, which started on September 30, 2022, had an “adverse effect” on the team he managed and the relationship was not reported to the force.

This is despite, the panel also hearing that when challenged by a senior officer about the existence of that relationship in October 2022, he denied it despite knowing that the denial was untrue.

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The outcome report of the misconduct hearing said the denial was “deliberate and intentional” but “was not done with any malign intent”.

“Such behaviour could undermine the good order of policing and undermine public confidence,” the outcome added.

It was found that the breaches amounted to gross misconduct leading to a reduction in rank from sergeant to police constable.

The hearing documents said: “We also acknowledge that in the ordinary course of events, dishonesty would lead to a dismissal, but the lie was not regarding any operational matter and was relating to what he regarded as a purely personal matter.”

The purpose of the misconduct hearing is to protect the public confidence in and the reputation of policing, to maintain high professional standards by demonstrating to other officers that misconduct will not be tolerated and to protect the public and/or officers and staff by preventing the officers from committing similar misconduct again.