A Norfolk police officer has been sacked for inappropriately touching female colleagues and asking personal questions about their sex lives at a Christmas party. 

Sergeant Richard Lodge touched one on the bum and nuzzled the ear of another in what a misconduct hearing found was a “serious case of misogyny and abuse towards two female officers”.

His lewd behaviour while “very drunk” continued throughout a festive night out with fellow officers in Norwich in December 2021 despite being warned by another male officer. 

The former officer, who disputed some of the recollections of other officers about his antics, resigned from the force in October 2023. He has faced no criminal charges.

Eastern Daily Press: PS Lodge touched the bum of one female colleague and made sexual comments during festive partyPS Lodge touched the bum of one female colleague and made sexual comments during festive party (Image: Getty Images)

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A disciplinary panel ruled that his behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and that had he not already resigned he would have been dismissed without notice. 

“PS Lodge was a leader who was supposed to set an example to his colleagues as a critical role model and should have been taking personal responsibility for promoting and reinforcing principles and standard,” said the misconduct panel chair Andrew Hearn.

“During the get together he failed to behave as a leader should.”

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It comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of police misconduct towards women following a number of high profile misconduct cases locally and nationally.

These include a Norfolk trainee officer sacked for having non-consensual sex with a woman who told him her drinks had been spiked, and another who sent explicit pictures to female colleagues over a period of 12 years.

'I'm giving you a warning - back off'

PS Lodge’s antics occurred when off-duty officers were on a boozy Christmas night out visiting Norwich bars and pubs including the Glass House, Revolution and Gonzo’s.

During what the panel said was a pattern of inappropriate behaviour amounting to repeated sexual impropriety when he slid his hand down onto the bottom of one woman , while nuzzling the ear of another telling her she smelt nice.

Eastern Daily Press: The inappropriate behaviour occurred at Norwich bars including Gonzo'sThe inappropriate behaviour occurred at Norwich bars including Gonzo's (Image: Newsquest)

He suggested to another that she change her voice on the radio so that officers would want to sleep with her.

He also made other sexualised comments that had left some of the women “upset and uncomfortable”, the panel said. 

PC McSweeney, another male officer on the night out, told the panel at one point he had taken PS Lodge aside and told him: “I’m giving you a warning. You are making her uncomfortable. What you’re doing is not acceptable. Back off.”

Behaviour constituted sexual assault

PS Lodge disputed behaving inappropriately and denied asking personal questions about colleagues’ sex lives. 

Eastern Daily Press: A disciplinary hearing at Norfolk police headquarters ruled his actions were gross misconductA disciplinary hearing at Norfolk police headquarters ruled his actions were gross misconduct (Image: Newsquest)

He said he had decided to resign from the police because of the uncertainty surrounding the allegations and because he had been offered another job. 

The misconduct panel ruled that touching the bum and nuzzling the ear of the women “constituted a sexual assault”.

Its report concluded that his behaviour had been aggravated by taking place in public “at a time when there was considerable public disquiet about inappropriate interactions between male police officers and females.”