AN Avon and Somerset Police officer who took a photo of his genitals while on duty and sent it to a woman has been dismissed.

A misconduct hearing yesterday (Thursday) was told that PC Toby Rideout, who is married, gave his personal phone number and social media details to the woman after meeting her in the course of his duties.

He kissed her shortly afterwards in March of this year and then embarked on a sexual affair before later sending her the indecent photo while in his uniform.

The hearing, chaired by Chief Constable Andy Marsh, was told that Rideout, who had been a PCSO for a number of years and a PC for seven months, knew what he was doing was "wrong".

The officer failed to inform his line manager of the relationship, which was described as an abuse of his position as a police officer.

Rideout was accused at the hearing of failing to act with self control; not treating the woman with respect and/or courtesy; and abusing his authority.

It was told that his behaviour "discredits the police service and undermines public confidence in it" because "a reasonable member of the public would be justifiably concerned".

Rideout claimed he concealed the affair because he did not want his wife to find out.

He said the woman had threatened to tell his wife if he did not send her the indecent photo.

But the chief constable ruled that Rideout was guilty of gross misconduct and had breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour. He was dismissed without notice.