A FORMER North Devon policeman who was awarded the British Empire Medal has appeared in court accused of historic sex offences against boys.
Danny Bryant, a senior figure in the surf Life-saving world, appeared at a remand hearing at Taunton Deane Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Former North Devon policeman Danny Bryant, who is a senior figure in the surf life-saving world, is accused of historic sex offences against boys
Bryant, 64, who served with Devon and Cornwall police for more than 20 years, faces nine charges of indecent assault on two children three decades ago.
Eight of the charges relate to one boy aged under 16. They are alleged to have happened in the 1980s.
A ninth charge of indecent assault relates to another boy. He was also aged under 16 at the time, also in the 1980s.
It’s understood the two alleged victims are not known to each other.
Bryant, of Moreton Avenue, Bideford, was arrested on April 18.
The allegations against him had been reported to Devon and Cornwall Police by Surf Life-saving GB in October last year after they were contacted by an alleged victim.
He answered his bail on Wednesday, May 15, and was remanded in custody.
The next day he appeared before magistrates who decided his case should be heard at Taunton Crown Court on June 3.
He did not enter a plea to the charges and was granted conditional bail.
Bryant, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1985 for his services to youth, served across the North Devon area for the whole of his career as a police constable.
Because of Bryant’s involvement with Devon and Cornwall Police, a decision was taken that court hearings would happen outside the force area.
Bryant, whose family has been made aware of the charges, was a founder member of the Devon and Cornwall Police Surf Life-saving Club, which operated until the early 1990s.
He was also a national volunteer with Surf Life-saving GB.
He is also listed as the chairman of the rescue commission of the International Life Saving Federation of Europe.
Pete Lawrence, chairman of Surf Life Saving GB, said: “We are shocked to hear of the historic allegations against Danny Bryant, a retired police officer and founder member of the Devon and Cornwall Police Life Saving Club.
“We understand these historic allegations have no relation to any role Danny Bryant took as a national volunteer with Surf Life-saving GB and we would like to take this opportunity to assure our 6,000 members that our safeguarding procedures are of the highest standard.”
The organisation said Bryant had relinquished all volunteer responsibilities with immediate effect.
It said it had participated fully in the police investigation.
In October 1985 PC Daniel Bryant was pictured in the North Devon Journal receiving the British Empire Medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, the Earl of Morley, at a ceremony in Exeter.
Bryant was then based at the juvenile bureau in Barnstaple and the Journal report said he had earned a high reputation among social workers, employers and teachers: “On many occasions he has personally sought out accommodation and employment for young people.
“Many authorities refer them to him for counselling and such is his reputation that many ask to see him to discuss problems.
“They know they can get in touch with him at any time of the day or night and this has been particularly helpful in drug abuse cases.”
In 1991 Bryant was one of two North Devon police constables to take part in a 128-mile Nijmegen March endurance walk in Holland, raising money for the RNLI.
But two years later he was suspended while an internal investigation was carried out into a verbal complaint made by a man.
Details of the complaint were never made public and no written statement was ever made.
Bryant was suspended in October 1993 but no disciplinary action was taken against him. In March the following year the 44-year-old took early retirement on the grounds of ill-health.
At his Bideford home yesterday Mr Bryant declined to comment on the allegations.
Police say that anyone with information about the alleged offences should call 101 and quote crime reference number CN/13/126.
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