Suffolk

Essex officer cleared of assaulting girlfriend

Two off-duty Essex policewomen had a "lovers' tiff" in a shopping centre after one accused the other of "cheating", a court has heard.

Pc Vruti Patel, 26, allegedly "grabbed and pushed" Pc Lisa Staines outside a cafe at Lakeside in Thurrock.

A district judge sitting at Ipswich magistrates court was shown CCTV footage of security guards intervening to keep the officers apart.

He found Pc Patel not guilty of assault following a three-hour trial.

The judge said police and prosecutors had been right to charge Pc Patel, but he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she had used "unlawful force".

Essex Police said Pc Patel had been on "restricted duties" since she was charged.

A spokesman said officers would investigate to see if any police disciplinary rules had been breached.

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