Ian Paterson, 62, of Tarves, admitted he was a touchy-feely person but denied there had been any sexual intent.
A jury at Aberdeen Sheriff Court found him guilty of three charges of sexual assault. The former chief superintendent with Grampian Police challenged the sentence.
At the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, judges agreed with defence advocate David Moggach that Sheriff Annella Cowan had gone too far.
The judges ordered Paterson to do 250 hours community work instead and to take part in a sex offenders' programme.
Paterson was working at the Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations when the offences happened.