Dorset

Dorset police sergeant must quit over affair cover-up

A Dorset Police sergeant who tried to cover up a dead colleague's love affair must quit his job, a judge has ruled.

Sgt Neil Salter tried to get an incriminating mobile phone destroyed while investigating the death of DC Ian Morton in a road crash in 2008.

He was told to resign but won a tribunal appeal in 2010 after it was noted Salter only wanted "to avoid further grief to DC Morton's family".

At the High Court, Mr Justice Burnett disagreed and quashed the decision.

He said the misconduct was so serious it was not enough for Salter to be reduced to the rank of constable.

'Destroy the phone'

He rejected the Police Appeal Tribunal's finding that the public might think it "harsh and lacking in compassion" for an officer to lose his job in such circumstances.

The court heard Salter had become aware that DC Morton spent the night before his death with a member of another police force.

Two mobile phones had been found inside the crashed vehicle, one of which Salter knew contained texts providing evidence of the affair.

He had instructed a police officer to find and destroy the phone.

But Salter was arrested after the officer refused and raised the matter with other senior officers.

When questioned, Salter had admitted saying "destroy the phone" and said he had been thinking out loud.

Mr Justice Burnett ruled the tribunal had given too much weight to Salter's "unblemished" career and "exceptional" character.

He gave Salter permission to challenge his decision in the Court of Appeal.

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