A former West Midlands Police officer has been jailed for engaging in a relationship with a vulnerable woman.
James Ankrett admitted to ‘corrupt or other improper exercise of police powers’ after forming a relationship with the woman in July 2017.
He was charged in 2019 following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and was sentenced to five months in prison today (18 Oct) at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
The court was told that the officer became involved with a woman after attending an incident at her home.
Evidence, gathered through the IOPCs investigation, indicated that Ankrett subsequently sent her several inappropriate messages and pictures of himself undressed whilst on and off duty.
The former response officer was previously restricted from duties and worked in a non-public facing role following the report while the investigation was carried out.
He was suspended from duty after admitting the offence at court on 14 September and dismissed without notice last week (14 Oct) at an accelerated misconduct hearing chaired by Chief Constable Sir David Thompson.
CC Sir David Thompson said:
“This behaviour is a matter of deep public concern at this time. The issue of Violence Against Women and Girls requires the police to act as champions for the fair treatment of women. Public trust is undermined when officers behave as this officer has.”
“Officers like this have no place in West Midlands Police.
“They are an abhorrence to the men and women who make up this organisation who go out day in day out to protect the most vulnerable.
“They damage our standing and professional reputation.
“We will root them out and not only dismiss them but actively seek prosecutions when criminal laws have been broken.”
IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, said:
“Cases where officers abuse their position for sexual purposes are among the most serious examples of corruption that we investigate.
“The public has a right to expect police officers to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, and that those who fail to do so will be investigated and dealt with robustly.
“Police are taught to maintain professional boundaries between themselves and members of the public, who are often in vulnerable situations when they come into contact with officers.
“PC Ankrett now has a criminal conviction to his name and has paid a heavy price for stepping over that boundary.
”We would like to reiterate to police officers and staff, current or former, that we have a whistleblowing line for police officers and staff to report concerns of wrongdoing where they believe a criminal offence has been committed or evidence of conduct that would justify disciplinary proceedings”.
The IOPC said that they began their inquiries following a referral from West Midlands Police in October 2017.
After the IOPC’s investigation in October 2018, investigators submitted a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, who authorised the charge against Ankrett in May 2019.
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