TWO police officers who “effectively concealed” the strangling of a vulnerable woman in a drugs-related robbery in a Bristol alleyway have been sacked without notice.

PC James Stone and PC Daniel Sweet committed gross misconduct, a tribunal panel ruled.

The officers neglected their basic policing duties by failing to launch an investigation and acted more like “minicab drivers” in doing nothing but taking the victim back to the BRI where she was an in-patient, the four-day Avon & Somerset police misconduct hearing was told.

The pair were called to the scene of the attack in Drummond Road, St Pauls, at 4.30am on November 11, 2022, but despite the woman telling them she had been strangled and robbed of £280 and a mobile phone by a violent man known to police, they failed to pursue any inquiries.

It was only when she later reported the assault that an investigation was started and it emerged that the constables had not recorded a crime.

Barrister Alan Jenkins, representing the constabulary, said this would have been “a gift for the defence” had the case gone to court, although the victim, a known heroin and cocaine user who was found at the scene wearing only pyjamas and a gown on a cold night, later withdrew her complaint.

He said PC Stone then took 76 days to submit a statement about the incident despite half a dozen reminders from the officer in charge, while PC Sweet took 96 days.

Both denied breaching standards of professional behaviour for police officers, but the panel found these proven.

Announcing the decision on Monday, May 13, the panel’s Legally Qualified Chair, Peter Cadman, who is independent of policing, said they had “effectively concealed the wrongdoing” of the perpetrator in terms of drug dealing and violence against women, in this case a “highly vulnerable victim”.

Mr Cadman said: “Nothing other than dismissal without notice is needed in this case.”

During the hearing, PC Sweet admitted making mistakes during the incident but said the victim’s immediate welfare was his priority over any crime allegations.

He said the panel found that because PC Stone was aware of the offence, he submitted a statement knowing it was untrue.

Mr Cadman said there was “no positive action of a cover-up” by the pair but that there had been a delay and “positive inaction”.

He said both Bristol-based officers provided impressive character references.

Barrister Nick Walker, representing PC Sweet, 31, said: “This was a brief episode in an extremely promising and valuable service to these communities.”

He said the officer had an exemplary police record and had gone through “years of misery”, details of which were outlined to the panel in a private session of the hearing.

Mr Walker said: “This should have been resolved as a performance issue and not misconduct.”

Barrister Julian King, representing PC Stone, 32, said: “This was a relatively inexperienced officer who was within his probationary period.

“He recognises he could and should have done better, but his behaviour does not amount to a breach of the standards of professional behaviour.”