A POLICE officer who had “inappropriate communications” with two vulnerable women has been sacked for gross misconduct.

PC Rhys Woolner, who was based in Rayleigh, was dismissed by Essex Police after a panel found he communicated with two women following separate incidents between August 2015 and October 2015.

After the hearing, Assistant Chief Constable Maurice Mason said: "Public trust in policing depends on the honesty and integrity of police officers being beyond reproach.

"When officers fall below that level and breach those professional standards, we take it very seriously.

"There can be no greater failing by a police officer then to abuse their position to exploit a vulnerable person.

"His conduct fell so far below the standards expected of my officers that I had no hesitation in dismissing him for discreditable conduct.

"The public can be reassured that there is no place in Essex Police for people who breach the Standards of Professional Behaviour in this way."

The panel, led by independent legally qualified chair Alexandra Ward, ruled Mr Woolner breached the standards of professional behaviour in the areas of authority, respect and courtesy, and discreditable conduct.

The hearing took place at Basildon Magistrates’ and Family Court on Tuesday, February 21.