Police officers who failed to investigate child abuse cases facing prison


Two former officers from Essex Police who deliberately failed to properly investigate reports of child abuse are facing prison sentences after being found guilty of misconduct in public office.

Both Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, forged documents and misrepresented the progress of investigations to supervising officers.

The prosecution told the Old Bailey that they were motivated by a combination of laziness, self-preservation and a cynical disdain for those who came forward to allege they were victims of child abuse. It said that their behaviour went beyond incompetence or a lack of resources.

The offences related to three cases of alleged child sexual abuse. Between 2011 and 2014 the cases were assigned to Essex Police’s child abuse investigation team where Patterson and Pollard worked.

In September 2013, Pollard destroyed four photos found in the home of a suspect accused of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s. He falsely claimed that the alleged victim had moved on, leaving no forwarding address, so he could explain away why he had not informed him that the police had closed the investigation.

Busola Johnson, from the CPS, said: “The two officers convicted today showed complete contempt for the positions they held.  

“Through a mixture of dishonesty and laziness, Patterson and Pollard chose not to do their jobs to the standards the public is entitled to expect, and then lied repeatedly to cover up their failings.

“The crimes that they committed had the potential to undermine the trust of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

“Patterson and Pollard had a responsibility to protect the public, and they failed in that duty.”

UPDATE (10 May 2019): Lee Pollard was sentenced to a total of 24 months' imprisonment (concurrent on each count); Sharon Patterson was sentenced to a total of 18 months' imprisonment.

Notes to editors

  • Ms Busola Johnson is a Specialist Prosecutor in the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS
  • Sharon Patterson (DOB: 02/01/1970) was convicted of one charge of misconduct in public office. The charge relates to conduct between May 2011 and June 2012
  • Lee Pollard (DOB: 11/06/1971) was convicted of two counts of misconduct in public office each related to two different cases. The charges relate to conduct between September 2013 to July 2014.

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