On both occasions, all three men were having a meeting about police business, and Mr Horne pushed Mr O’Malley causing him to fall backwards onto a desk and threw a stress ball at him which hit him in the throat and left a red mark.

Mr Mason described both the incidents as odd and out of character for Mr Horne.

Alike or not, playing Gavin, the Essex boy who embarks on a sweet romance with Welsh lass Stacey, has gained Horne legions of – mainly young and female – fans. Love this dude" – and, when filming in Cardiff, Horne is "more or less mobbed" by them.

Mr Horne had denied the three allegations, but a panel sitting at Chelmsford Civic Centre found his actions to be proven.

The swearing incident happened in June 2015 when Mr Horne was Assistant Chief Constable and had visited the force control room and was disappointed at the number of unallocated domestic violence incidents.

A SENIOR police officer has been found to have committed misconduct for throwing a stress ball at a colleague.

Essex Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne was also found to have breached standards of behaviour by pushing another officer and launching a foul-mouthed tirade over the performance of the force control room.

"A further hearing will be held in public in due course in order that the Chief Constable, as appropriate authority, can decide on what sanction will be applied.

"Those sanctions include management action, written warning, final written warning and do not include dismissal.

He then walked out and saw Det Chief Supt Glenn Maleary who was in charge of the control room.

Mr Horne then swore at him several times and warned him he must improve his performance.

Mr Horne, who is on secondment to the National Crime Agency where he is the deputy director general of operations, could lose his job if he is found guilty of bullying.

A professional standards hearing in Chelmsford heard details of three alleged breaches of standards of professional behaviour between 20.

" Cooper) to romantic heart-throb, 2009 is shaping up to be a year of wall-to-wall Horne (with a little Gavin on the side).