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Former PC's inappropriate messages 'inexcusable', say police watchdog

PUBLISHED: 15:24 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 02 July 2019

Chelmsford Civic Centre, where former Essex Police PC Matthew Langford was found guilty of gross misconduct Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Chelmsford Civic Centre, where former Essex Police PC Matthew Langford was found guilty of gross misconduct Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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A former Essex Police officer's behaviour was blasted as "inexcusable" by the police conduct watchdog after he sent inappropriate messages to a vulnerable victim.

Former police constable Matthew Langford was found guilty of gross misconduct on June 28, 2019, only avoiding being dismissed because he had resigned from the force in 2018.

Between 2014 and 2015, he reportedly sent inappropriate and unsolicited messages to a young woman who asked for advice on becoming a Special Constable, which continued after she joined the force.

It was an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation that identified the former officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said: "The disciplinary hearing reflects the severity of the breach of trust by former PC Matthew Langford.

"Matthew Langford's behaviour, in attempting to abuse his position for sexual gain, was inexcusable and the fact he would have been dismissed if still a serving officer shows the seriousness with which this type of behaviour is treated.

"His conduct undermined the public's confidence in policing so it is wholly appropriate that he will now be barred from the police service.

"We are aware that this type of behaviour is one of the top areas of police conduct that concerns the general public.

"We are working hard to ensure police forces refer all allegations of abuse of position for sexual purpose to us, and we will continue to provide guidance and knowledge to help identify this abuse of trust as early as possible."

Mr Langford was also reported to have access police records in order to send personal and inappropriate messages to a vulnerable victim of crime in 2017.

The panel also heard he received management action following a misconduct meeting for similar inappropriate behaviour towards a vulnerable young woman in 2009.

Deputy chief constable Pippa Mills said: "Every day, our officers and staff uphold the standards of professional behaviour we must all abide as set out in the Code of Ethics for policing.

"Regrettably, there are rare occasions when some individuals abuse their authority for sexual gain and this case has demonstrated that we will take robust action to deal with this.

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