Beds, Herts & Bucks

Former Bedfordshire police officer jailed for abusing girls

Mohammad Arshad Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Mohammad Arshad was described as a "dangerous offender" by the judge

A former police officer has been given a 23-year sentence after using Facebook to find vulnerable girls to have sex with.

Mohammad Arshad, 35, of Luton, groomed his underage victims online and paid some for sex, St Albans Crown Court heard.

He also raped a 14-year-old on the back seat of his car.

Arshad was convicted of 17 charges relating to 12 teenage girls last month.

'Abused my childhood'

Judge Jonathan Carroll called him a "dangerous offender" and gave him a jail term of 15 years plus an eight-year extended licence period, which means he will be supervised by probation officer on his release.

He began abusing girls in 2012, when he was a CCTV operator in Luton town centre, before he joined Bedfordshire Police in April 2014.

Arshad was suspended six months later when the investigation began, after the mother of one of the victims came forward.

He used Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, WhatsApp and text messages to groom his victims, the jury was told.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Arshad began abusing girls in 2012, two years before he joined Bedfordshire Police

Arshad's youngest victim was 13, while he paid a 16-year-old girl for sex.

In a victim impact statement one girl said: "He abused my childhood and that of other girls."

Arshad said he could not recall how many teenagers he had sex with, saying: "I don't remember. It is hard for me to put a number on it."

He was convicted of nine counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, three of sexual activity with a child, two of meeting a child following sexual grooming, one of rape, one of causing a child to watch a sexual act and one of paying for the sexual services of a child.

He was cleared of five similar charges.

Bedfordshire Police said it had reviewed its vetting process to prevent the likes of Arshad from joining the force again.

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