AN Essex Police officer who sexually assaulted a female colleague while he was drunk has been given a written warning after keeping his job.

PC Matthew Henderson has been found to have committed gross misconduct after inappropriately touching a force employee.

The incident occurred in September 2021 when Henderson, a student officer at the time, was intoxicated and off duty.

On April 11 and April 12, a gross misconduct hearing was held at Chelmsford Civic Centre by a panel chaired by Karim Akbar Khan.

The allegations against the serving officer were subsequently proven and he was handed a final written warning and permitted to keep his job in the force.

Andy Prophet, deputy chief constable at Essex Police, condemned Henderson for his conduct but respects the panel’s decision.

He said: “The behaviour of PC Henderson was completely unacceptable - he behaved inappropriately and assaulted a female colleague whilst drunk and off duty.

“The panel carefully considered all of the circumstances, including the views and wishes of the victim.

“PC Henderson kept his job on this occasion, receiving a final written warning. Essex Police will continue to take robust action towards anyone behaving in such a way.”