A NORTH-EAST police officer dismissed last year for gross misconduct is facing a new investigation after fresh allegations of sexual assault, it has emerged.

The unnamed 36-year-old was sacked from Cleveland Police in October last year for sexually touching a woman he had arrested for shoplifting.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) ruled he had abused his position, acted without honesty and integrity and behaved unprofessionally.

This evening, a national newspaper has reported that at least two other women have since come forward to allege they to were assaulted by the same man when he was a serving officer.

A spokeswoman for the force confirmed: "Allegations of sexual assault have been made against a 36-year-old man from the Cleveland area."

Cleveland Police are understood to have re-opened their investigation and alerted the IPCC to the fresh allegations.

The officer was initially arrested on suspicion of indecent assault in August 2011, but was later released without charge.

Following an investigation, in which the officer admitted giving the woman a cuddle, the IPCC described his behaviour as "reprehensible" and he was immediately dismissed.

IPPC Commissioner Nicholas Long said at the time: "This officer acted in a completely inappropriate way to a woman who was in his custody.

"His behaviour implied he would assist the woman only if she accepted his sexual advances."

It is understood that the woman's case will be referred back to the CPS, along with the evidence from the other women who have now come forward.