Shropshire

Ian Naude: How predatory paedophile joined police

A selfie taken by Ian Naude Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Naude raped the girl after being called to her home to attend a domestic incident

A police officer who raped a young girl he met on duty was being investigated for sex offences before he joined the force. How did he slip through the net?

On the face of it, Ian Naude was an ideal police candidate.

A former machine gunner with the Royal Irish Regiment, he said he wanted to make a difference at Cheshire Constabulary.

The reality, his trial was told, is that he joined the force to meet vulnerable young girls and have sex with them.

And as jurors were played the film he made while raping a 13-year-old girl in the back of his car, they too were convinced that motive rang true.

The opportunities to stop him, however, were there before he was given in the words of prosecutors, "the keys to the sweetshop".

Naude, 30, had been vetted in October 2016 and given the all clear to join as a student officer in the new year.

But when a complainant told Staffordshire Police in February 2017 she had been raped by Naude - and that he had applied to be a policeman- his recruitment was delayed while the neighbouring force investigated.

When no further action was taken, the father-of one took up his position in the April. Seven months later, he had groomed, assaulted and raped a young girl.

Image copyright Cheshire Police

It was while detectives investigated her allegations that Cheshire Police came to realise Naude had slipped through the net.

As his conduct came under scrutiny, it emerged he had also been named as a suspect to Staffordshire Police in January 2017 for sexual activity with a child.

The same month, the West Mercia force also received an allegation he was persistently asking a girl on social media to meet him.

Cheshire Police was not made aware of either probe because at the time, the forces weren't aware he was due to become an officer.

His details had been added to the Police National Computer, but as there is no obligation under the national Vetting Code of Practice to have him re-vetted, the information did not come to light.

It was, however, while on duty as a serving officer in October 2017 that he met his victim.

He had been called to deal with a domestic incident at her home - ending up in her bedroom where she showed him her belly button ring, the court heard.

Later, he tracked her down on Facebook and sent her sexual messages and images, asking her to "call me daddy".

Image copyright Cheshire Police

He claimed it was "just a turn-on". His victim, meanwhile, told police, "he's not my dad so I don't know why I'd do that".

Three days later, he returned to the house, waited until her mother was out, and drove her down a quiet country road, where he raped her.

He told the court his victim, who he filmed and photographed during the attack, "seemed to be enjoying it".

His defence was that she gave consent. In reality, the girl was traumatised and told her parents.

In addition to the victim's account, police officers found Naude had contacted girls through a fake Facebook profile he made towards the end of his career in the army, where he had served in Afghanistan.

As "15-year-old Jake Green", he targeted children online, persuading them to undress and perform sex acts on camera.

In return, he would send them images and videos of himself masturbating.

Image caption Acting chief constable Janette McCormick said it is investigating further possible offences by Naude

Cheshire Police has admitted it missed an opportunity to spot Naude's perverted behaviour.

"He joined the force as anybody else would join, through the selection processes, through the screening processes, through the national vetting processes," said acting chief constable, Janette McCormick.

"Between passing those processes and joining the force, there were offences he committed which didn't come to light in that vetting process and that meant that he was employed within the force as a student officer.

"There were investigations, there were specific issues in relation to those investigations that were difficult, there were pseudonyms that were used that meant we didn't link him to going through the recruitment process in the force.

"He didn't join to be a police officer, he joined to be a predator."

Ms McCormick believes he acted alone but added: "I would be naive to think there are not other people within the force and that's why we have to be active in looking at that behaviour so we can root it out."

The Independent Office of Police Conduct said it investigated Cheshire Police's vetting of Naude and "did not find a case to answer for misconduct for any individual officer".

But the force said the case had made it look "long and hard" at its recruitment and screening process.

"The national... Vetting Code of Practice states that there is no time frame as to when somebody is vetted before joining a police force," a statement added.

"However, Cheshire Constabulary has now changed its vetting processes.

"If there is a delay in the recruitment process of more than three months, once a person has been vetted, the force will carry out further checks on the national police systems.

"Furthermore, checks on the national police systems and complaints records of all officers who are reaching the completion of their probation period of two years are now undertaken."

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