Police officer sent 'inappropriate messages' to vulnerable victim
PUBLISHED: 10:58 29 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 29 June 2019
A police officer who sent inappropriate messages to a colleague and vulnerable victim has been found guilty of gross misconduct.
A misconduct panel found former Pc Matthew Langford, who was based in Clacton at the time of the incidents, had breached the standards of professional behaviour of confidentiality and discreditable conduct.
The panel decided he would have been dismissed from the force had he not previously resigned in May 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.
He was also reported to have access police records in order to send personal and inappropriate messages to a vulnerable victim of crime in 2017.
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.
"Protecting the public, and especially vulnerable people, will always be our top priority and there is no place in Essex Police for individuals whose actions go against that."
The matters came to light after colleagues raised concerns about his behaviour.
They were referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which carried out an independent investigation and found there was a case to answer for gross misconduct.
The panel also heard that Mr Langford received management action following a misconduct meeting for similar inappropriate behaviour towards a vulnerable young woman in 2009.
The misconduct panel was led by independent legally qualified chairman John Bassett and held at the Civic Centre in Duke Street, Chelmsford, on Friday, June 28.
Langford is now barred from rejoining the force or other policing bodies.