Avon and Somerset Police officer sacked after sexting on duty

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Police HQ
Image caption,
The hearing was told PC Y's motivation for sending the woman a photo of him in uniform was to get her trust so he could meet her for sex

A police officer who sent a vulnerable woman explicit messages while on duty and met her for sex has been sacked.

The woman told the Avon and Somerset police officer she had been raped, was in therapy and had been sectioned.

The officer, identified as PC Y, denied gross misconduct, saying he believed her rape claim was "sexual fantasy". 

The misconduct panel chair Alex Lock said the allegations would "undermine trust in the police" and dismissal was the only appropriate outcome.

The panel said PC Y, who joined the police in 1996, abused his position when he revealed to the woman he was a police officer and sent her a photo of himself in uniform to gain her trust.

Representing Avon and Somerset Police, Briony Ballard said even one instance of an officer abusing his position for sex was "a betrayal". 

'Lost all desire'

Ms Ballard told the panel the officer only "heard what he wanted to hear" so he could pursue a sexual encounter. 

PC Y met the woman on the website Fab Swingers.

"The officer knew what he was doing was wrong," Ms Ballard said.

"If you have 20 years' experience, you should be able to know who is vulnerable."

The officer said upon meeting the woman, he "lost all desire" but felt he could only leave after sex.

Ms Ballard said: "She told you she had previously been raped. She reported being in therapy for that rape.

"She had potential involvement with the mental health team, and had potentially been sectioned. 

"You ignored all of that and put it in the 'doesn't apply to me' box because you saw it as a fantasy." 

'Personal advantage'

PC Y replied: "It sounded like a fantasy. If this was face to face I would've had nothing to do with her. I would've safeguarded her.

"It wasn't about her. It was about meeting someone for a non-committal relationship, nothing else."

Defending PC Y, Ramin Pakrooh said it was "not strange" for the pair to want to get to know each other and that sending "short sexts" while on duty was not the same as "chipping off" work to have sex. 

But Mr Lock said: "He used his status not for a legitimate policing purpose but to gain a personal advantage.

"The conduct, taken together, amounts to gross misconduct."

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