Police officer did not declare graphic conversation with paedophile

Police officer and PCSO on patrol in Brandon

Police officer and PCSO on patrol in Brandon - Credit: Archant

A police constable who had a sexually explicit conversation with a convicted paedophile but failed to report it has been found guilty of gross misconduct.

Essex Police said John Storie encouraged the offender to describe child sexual abuse and requested images and videos via text messages and WhatsApp.

Despite the conversation, which described what would have been considered to be serious sexual abuse against a child, the former officer, who was based in Colchester, was found to have comitted no criminal offence.

But a disciplinary panel at Chelmsford Civic Centre ruled his actions were gross misconduct and said he would have been sacked if he had not already been medically retired in September,

Mr Storie, who did not attend the hearing, had been suspended from duty since May while an investigation was conducted.

As part of the investigation his home was searched and officers found he had two live rounds of ammunition.

He accepted a caution for having these without a firearms certificate.

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The panel, led by legally qualified chairwoman Monica Daley, ruled that the former officer breached professional standards of behaviour of integrity, duties and responsibilities, and discreditable conduct, in relation to the conversation about child sexual abuse.

Panel members also found he breached professional standards of behaviour of integrity and discreditable conduct in relation to the ammunition offence.

The matters came to light when police began an investigation into the man Mr Storie had been in contact with.

Speaking after the hearing, panel member Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said: “Protecting the most vulnerable members of our society is at the very heart of the role of being a police officer.

“The sexual abuse of children is among the most abhorrent of crimes. For an officer to engage in sexually explicit conversation with a sex offender and to not report him is vile and reprehensible.

“Upholding the law is fundamental to policing and there is absolutely no place in Essex Police for such despicable behaviour.”

Mr Storie will be placed on a College of Policing barred list, ensuring he can never work in policing again.

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