A 33-year-old Metropolitan Police sergeant, who is accused of raping a woman in the sea during a stag event, appeared in court on Tuesday.

Laurence Knight allegedly carried out the attack on July 17, 2021 in Brighton, reported The Sun. Knight, attached to Met Detention, the force’s custody command, and the woman walked to the beach together then undressed to their underwear, said prosecutors. They added that the two ended up in the sea, where sexual activity is said to have taken place.

The cop was arrested on July 28, 2021 and he faced Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday wearing a dark blue suit, yellow tie and pale shirt. He spoke to confirm his name, address in Waltham Forest, east London, and date of birth, reported Mirror. Knight was not asked to enter pleas to charges of sexual assault and rape. He was granted bail by District Judge Nina Tempia on the condition that he does not contact any prosecution witnesses.

The Met said that it has been suspended Knight, who will next appear at Southwark Crown Court on Aug. 2. After his arrest, the force made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Chief Superintendent Pete Gardner, in charge of Met Detention, said that they know people will rightly be "concerned to hear about this very serious charge against a serving police officer."

He added that they absolutely share that concern and he is thankful to "Sussex Police for their thorough investigation." Gardner added that the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards are fully aware of the case, and that "misconduct matters will be dealt with once the criminal proceedings have concluded, The officer is suspended from duty.”

Knight was off duty at the time of the alleged sex offences, Scotland Yard previously said.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police needs to urgently take steps to regain the public’s trust and confidence, said the chief inspector of constabulary, reported The London Economic. Public trust was a “number one” priority for the force, said Andy Cooke. He made the comment after the force was named as one of six currently under special measures amid a series of failures. It means it is subject to “enhanced monitoring” by the police watchdog and is tasked with drawing up an improvement plan.

Metropolitan Police Service
Police officers staff a cordon outside New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, as anti-lockdown protesters march against the ongoing coronavirus restrictions in central London on March 20, 2021. Photo by Niklas Halle'n/AFP via Getty Images