Probe into police officer's messages to teenager

A TEENAGER reported missing by her mother was subjected to a string of suggestive text messages from a police officer soon after she had been found.

Roddy Ashworth

A TEENAGER reported missing by her mother was subjected to a string of suggestive text messages from a police officer soon after she had been found, the EADT can reveal.

And now the case is set to be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission by the girl and her family who say they are “very unhappy” with the way Essex Police handled the case.

The girl was 18-years-old when she failed to keep an arrangement to meet her sister outside a Colchester nightclub in the early hours of Friday May 8.


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A few hours later, her concerned mother contacted the police who called at her home to take the teenagers' details and collect a photograph to help identify her.

However, shortly after 7am it was discovered that the missing girl was staying with a friend and that there had been a mis-understanding between the two sisters.

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Later, two police officers - one of whom was Colchester-based PC Matthew Langford - called at the mother's house to return the photograph and check that the girl was safe and well.

However, at around 7.40am two days later the teenage girl received a text message from a strange number saying: “UR gorgeous!!”

The girl responded asking who had sent the message only to receive another saying: “That would be telling! I saw you the other day?? U should be a model x”.

After a series of messages throughout the day, in which the teenager ascertained the person sending the text messages was one of the two police officers who visited her just days before, he tried to identify himself by saying: “I was the younger fit one.”

He went on to add: “You're boyfriend is a lucky chap!! I have never seen anyone as gorgeous as u B4!”

After she found out about the messages, the girl's mother complained to the police and it was quickly ascertained that the officer involved was PC Langford.

On May 19 he wrote a letter to the girl's mother saying: “Firstly, may I offer my sincere apologies to both your daughter and yourself. I can offer no excuse or valid reason for sending the messages.

“As a consequence of this matter I have been subject of Local Resolution Procedure which is a formal process as laid out in Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002, and have had to explain my actions before a senior officer of Superintendent rank.

“I have been employed by Essex Police for seven years and have up until now had an excellent discipline and conduct record which I am proud of.

“I understand your complaint and again can only unreservedly apologise for my conduct.”

A police spokeswoman said yesterday: “An officer based in Colchester has been subject to the local resolution complaints procedure following the inappropriate use of a mobile number of a woman obtained from a police document.

“Essex Police does not tolerate this type of behaviour and the appropriate action has been taken.

“The officer has also apologised to those affected.”

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