Sex cop jailed

Ian-Langford

A police officer who served with West Mercia Police and who seduced and slept with vulnerable women while on duty has been jailed for 18 months.

Ian Langford, 46, struck up relationships with two women after being called to attend incidents at their homes.

Gloucester Crown Court heard married Langford would visit the women – who he was having relationships with at the same time – during his shifts.

The father-of-one’s police radio was heard to go off during visits and he even called a police car to bring him back to the station, the court was told.

Langford’s “totally unacceptable” actions led to a trial collapsing in court – as he was sleeping with the key prosecution witness.

He also illegally accessed police records to gain the contact details of one of his victims when she changed her phone number after their relationship ended.

Langford, of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, admitted two charges of misconduct in a public office for the relationships, which took place in 2012 and 2013.

In 2008, Langford was docked 13 days pay by West Mercia Police for sleeping with a vulnerable women after attending her home following a domestic violence incident.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC told Langford, who was supported in court by his new wife, that his actions had brought the police service into disrepute.

“You are not a man of good character because in 2008 you were reprimanded for committing a similar, if not identical, offence with another vulnerable woman,” the judge said.

“If you needed reminding that such behaviour was totally unacceptable, that incident should have deterred you.

“However, in May 2012, you met up with one victim. She was the victim of domestic violence, as had been the victim in 2008.

“She was looking for the protection of the law and the understanding of the police. You chose to seduce her when she was at her most vulnerable.

“Later, when the affair had come to an end you misused police data to discover her private phone number.”

The judge said Langford met with a second victim in June 2012, when in a relationship with the first woman, following a neighbourly dispute at her home, which resulted in a trial.

“The case was compromised when it came to trial because the defendant let it be known that you were having an affair with the prosecution witness,” the judge said.

“As a result, the case had to be dropped, although a restraining order was imposed. Nothing could demonstrate better why police officers have to conduct themselves in a exemplary manner.

“Both your victims feel extremely let down by the police. You targeted women when they were at their most vulnerable. You carried out the affairs while actually on duty.

“Your behaviour has brought the police service into disrepute.”

The judge sentenced Langford to nine months for each count of misconduct in a public office, to run consecutively – meaning a prison term of 18 months.

The judge also made an order banning the identification of any of Langford’s victims.

300 Data Protection Breaches @ The Met

nsy

Police officers with the country’s largest force have been caught assisting criminals, selling confidential details for cash and making racist and sexist comments on the internet, a Press Association investigation has found.

Others within the Metropolitan Police harassed colleagues, bragged about their law breaking and lied to managers in an effort to cover up breaches of Data Protection rules.

The results of the investigation, which show 300 police breaches during nearly five years, have prompted calls for the Met to carry out an urgent review of its security procedures, while civil liberties campaigners want changes to legislation allowing greater penalties for those who break rules.

A force spokesman said it demands all employees “act with professionalism and integrity whether on or off-duty”, and comply with rules.

The Data Protection breaches are the latest embarrassment to the Met, after investigations by national newspapers discovered corruption within the force, while a damning report by barrister Mark Ellison QC found that an undercover officer was a “spy” within the “family camp” of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Former shadow home secretary David Davis said the breaches undermined public trust in the police.

The Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden said: “The extent to which police officers have used confidential police information for criminal ends, and abused individuals’ private information for their personal benefit, is astonishing.

“This directly impacts on the level of trust between the police and the public.

“The public are much more shocked when it is vulnerable, ordinary people who are victimised rather than powerful celebrities. These revelations are the sort of thing that will deeply concern the man on the street.

“The Met needs to review, as a matter of urgency, the security control for confidential information that the police hold on members of the public.”

The breaches cover rank-and-file officers, senior investigators and civilian staff at the Met, which employs around 31,000 officers,13,000 police staff and 2,600 Police Community Support Officers (PCSO).

Around one-fifth of cases ended in a sacking or retirement, while two-thirds resulted in formal action.

Breaches between January 2009 and October 2013 range from minor rule-breaks on social media to serious allegations of misconduct leading to arrests.

According to the Met, criminals used an officer to “obtain data from police indices to assist in criminality”. The criminals had been subject to public protection arrangements usually reserved for sexual or violent offenders.

Another officer was arrested for leaking intelligence “of a significant level to a prominent criminal with links to firearms”, the Met said.

A further officer was discovered to be passing on confidential information regarding drugs. In both cases, the employee was arrested and is no longer working for the force.

A detective chief inspector received formal action after committing “offences contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Act”, the force said.

In a handful of cases, journalists were secretly supplied with information by police – sometimes in exchange for cash, the Met confirmed.

There were also occasions when employees were censured for posting offensive material on Facebook and for behaving inappropriately at work.

A police officer was reprimanded for making inappropriate sexual comments about children on a website, while another sent a spoof image of a caravan adorned with Nazi references to an external address.

A special constable received formal action for making the comment “damn n*****s” on a Facebook photo of two men fighting, while one officer received management action for sending a picture of armed police outside the Commons, captioned with the words “Merry Christmas… Keep calm and f**k off.”

Another officer breached data laws after disclosing on Facebook that he had lost a bag containing police paper and equipment, while one employee joined the Facebook of Sex website and posted photos of himself.

An officer also used their internal email for dating purposes, some searched for pornography, while a PCSO used the police computer to check up on her boyfriend.

Another “searched details of a cab driver he had refused to pay a few nights before”.

Of the 300 cases investigated and substantiated, 208 were subject to formal action being taken – including criminal prosecutions where appropriate.

The remaining 92 cases resulted in a variety of outcomes including written warnings, management action, retirement or resignation (allowed by police regulations) and two cases of no further action.

Emma Carr, deputy director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said police needed to be more transparent in coming clean about staff data breaches.

She said: “It shouldn’t take journalists or campaign groups to ask for that information because it looks like they are hiding something.

“It’s also important that police do their utmost to ensure people are disciplined when malicious data sharing has taken place, and for them to ensure that if criminality has occurred they feel the full force of the law – it shouldn’t be one rule for police and one for the rest of us.”

She added: “I think we have seen so many stories recently of potential corruption taking place within the police, with malicious practice or people not really sticking to the law that we’re supposed to keep as the general public.

“When you then have other tensions taking place within communities, that’s clearly going to add to mistrust between police forces and the public when you really need them to work together.

“That’s why its important the heads of the police force are seen to be doing something to ensure they are running a clean unit.”

A Met spokesman said: “We recognise that protecting the sensitive data we hold is critical to public confidence and our ability to fight crime effectively.

“The MPS treats any allegation about the conduct of its staff extremely seriously and will always take steps to determine whether the conduct of that member of staff has breached the required standards of professional behaviour.”

Asked how public confidence would be affected by evidence of racism, the spokesman added: “The Commissioner has stated he will not tolerate racism and recognises that the Met needs to continuously improve. All staff are aware that racism will not be tolerated and this is made clear when they join and throughout their careers.”

EXAMPLES

Here are some examples of police breaking the rules, and the action taken against them. All data was supplied by the Met:

:: PC, formal action, 2009 – Officer used internal email for dating purposes

:: Other police staff, retired / resigned, 2011 – Subject arrested for leaking intelligence regarding drugs

:: Police officer, formal action, 2013 – Supplied a journalist with confidential information

:: Special constable, formal action, 2012 – Blatantly told a number of calculated lies to her line manager in order to cover up her misuse of computer system

:: Other police staff, retired / resigned, 2012 – Viewed a Criminal Reporting Information System report involving a family member

:: Police officer, retired / resigned, 2009 – Level 1 and 2 criminals using officer to obtain data from police indices to assist in criminality

:: Police officer, management action, 2011 – Sent inappropriate material showing police in public order dress holding shields in front of Parliament with the words ‘Merry Christmas… Keep calm and f**k off’

:: Other police staff, formal action, 2009 – Searched details of a cab driver he had refused to pay a few nights before

:: Police officer, formal action, 2011 – Numerous browsing the internet or playing games when he should be working. Using iPhone to access porn.

:: Special constable, formal action, 2011 – Believed to have made racist comments on Facebook. Commented on a picture of two fighting men with the phrase “damn n*****s”.

:: Community support officer, retired / resigned, 2013 – Computer misuse, checks on her boyfriend

:: Other police staff, formal action, 2010 – Used police terminal to download pirate movies from an illegal website and watched them during work time

:: Other police staff, retired / resigned, 2009 – Officer leaked information / amended entries in relation to the changing of registered owners details of vehicles stolen by criminal networks

:: Police officer, formal action, 2009 – Discreditable conduct: Sent an email with the answers to paper one of the IRV driving exam

:: Police officer, formal action, 2010 – Inappropriate sexual comments about children on a website

:: Community support officer, management action, 2012 – Officer allowed a male impersonating a police officer during the riots into the police station

:: Other police officer, formal action, 2012 – Disclosed information not in the public domain via Twitter regarding an assault of a WPC at Notting Hill Carnival

:: Other police officer, formal action, 2011 – Searching gay porn on work computer

:: Police officer, retired / resigned, 2009 – Officer pasted onto his Facebook profile that he had lost a bag containing police paper and equipment

:: Community support officer, formal action, 2009 – Asked a police officer to run an unauthorised / false PNC check on a relative who had a link to a rape case

:: Police officer, formal action, 2010 – Alleged to have harassed a female colleague by showing her an indecent photograph… Also made indecent sexual suggestions and approached her from behind rubbing his nipples making sexual noises

:: Other police staff, retired / resigned, 2009 – Leaking intelligence of a significant level to a prominent criminal with links to firearms. Arrested

:: Community support officer, retired / resigned, 2009 – Emailing and intimidating witnesses, whose addresses he gained access to, ahead of a gross misconduct board hearing

:: Police officer, formal action, 2010 – Officer sent a spoof image of a caravan adorned with various Nazi references to an external address

:: Police officer, formal action, 2010 – Joined the Facebook of Sex website and has been posting photos of himself, some in uniform and some of a sexual nature

:: Police officer, management action, 2010 – Officer made comments on Facebook that she had “topped 112mph” on her motorbike and comments about being at court

:: Police officer, formal action, 2011 – DCI committed offences contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Act

:: Police officer, formal action, 2009 – Racist comment made on Facebook

Plebgate Cop Sacked

Plodgate

A police constable who was on duty in Downing Street has been sacked over leaks to the press linked to the Plebgate row, Scotland Yard said.

Gillian Weatherley was found to have breached standards of professional behaviour in relation to honesty and integrity; orders and instructions; confidentiality; discreditable conduct and challenging and reporting improper conduct in a three-day misconduct hearing.

She was on duty in Downing Street on the day of the confrontation between then-chief whip Andrew Mitchell and fellow constable Toby Rowland in September 2012.

The next day, Weatherley sent a photograph of an email that Rowland had sent to his bosses about the row to another officer, James Glanville. He was later sacked for leaking the information to the Sun newspaper.

Weatherley was found guilty of gross misconduct after the hearing before a panel which included an independent representative, a Superintendent and Commander Julian Bennett.

As well as sending the photograph to Glanville, Scotland Yard said Weatherley went on to exchange 12 text messages with him in the days following the confrontation, all of which she later deleted.

The force said she had given ” inaccurate and misleading” statements to officers investigating the aftermath of the row, and had been suspended from duty since her arrest in February last year. Prosecutors have already decided not to press charges.

Another two officers, also from the diplomatic protection group, are due to face gross misconduct proceedings in the coming weeks.

The next hearing will begin on Thursday, for another Pc accused of denying he had been in contact with Keith Wallis, a fellow officer who was jailed and sacked for sending his MP an email in which he pretended to have witnessed the Downing Street confrontation.

A third constable will face her gross misconduct hearing on May 20, where she will be accused of giving false statements to the police investigation into Plebgate.

It is claimed she knew about Wallis’s email and her partner leaked information to the Sun. The hearings are taking place in private as dictated by statute, but Mr Mitchell was invited to attend and Scotland Yard said it would publicise details of the decisions made.

The only misconduct hearing the force has previously held in public is that of Pc Simon Harwood, who was sacked after the death of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, when it was ordered to do so by police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr Mitchell said: “Disciplinary hearings in the Metropolitan Police are held in private and therefore I am limited in what I can say – at this stage.

“What I can say today is that I felt the hearing was well-conducted.

“This gross misconduct hearing was in respect of police officer Gillian Weatherley, who first obstructed my exit from Downing Street on September 19 2012 in breach of clear instructions from the head of Downing Street security.

“I hope the transcript of the inquiry and its supporting evidence will be published in full in the interests of openness and accountability.

“This case has serious consequences for the Government, the police and every citizen in this country.”

Two Thieving Cops face Jail

Det Sgt Phillips (L), Det Con Evans (R)
Det Sgt Phillips (L), Det Con Evans (R)

Two senior policemen from Neath in South Wales are facing jail after being caught stealing in a sting operation at a fake “crime scene” – by their own colleagues.

Det Sgt Stephen Phillips and Det Con Jason Evans were filmed on secret cameras taking cash and biro pens planted in the sting house.

A court heard how Phillips, 45, was caught taking £250 when he was called to a house under criminal investigation – not realising it was a set-up by other police officers.

Evans, 44, was also videoed pocketing two pens while he carried out the investigation using a search warrant at the same time.

The court heard the officers thought they were investigating a burglary, but were set up as part of “trust exercise” by suspicious police chiefs.

A team of officers including Evans and Phillips were sent to the house which was filled with “evidence” including Viagra, bags, mobile phones, watches and £21,647 of cash.

But Phillips and Evans did not realise the property had been fitted with hidden cameras and covert microphones – and the woman posing as a resident was an undercover detective.

The pair – who are suspended by South Wales Police – were warned they faced custody after admitting theft.

Judge Bodfan Jenkins told them: “There can be few examples of a graver breach of trust.

“This is a gross breach of trust in relation to the force and what the public expect from the police.

“It’s not about the cost, it’s about the breach of trust and at first blush it appears to me that this is a custody case.”

The officers, who are based in Neath, were part of a team investigating organised crime.

The pair were investigated by South Wales Police’s corruption unit for theft and misconduct.

Cardiff magistrates court heard how the force decided to carry out an “intelligence led integrity test” on the pair.

They pretended they were asked by Greater Manchester Police to investigate a property allegedly linked to a series of burglaries.

Prosecutor David Roberts said: “Phillips was filmed putting his hand inside a coat pocket and finding £240.

“He removes his hand and leaves the scene – but then returns 20 seconds later when he removes the cash and places it in his pocket.”

Phillips also took £10 from a bedside table. But he did not realise all the notes had been marked with invisible ink and the serial numbers recorded.

Evans was filmed going into the bedroom and taking two pens during the raid in March this year.

The pair then drove up the M5 to meet plain clothes officers from Greater Manchester Police at a service station.

While waiting for the meet Phillips spent £60 of the money on a Monopoly-themed gambling machine.

As they drove back to South Wales they were pulled over by a marked police car and arrested by members of their force’s Professional Standards department.

The court heard Phillips, of Skewen, Neath, claimed he was going to return the money to the woman who lived at the house.

Evans, of Cilfrew, Neath, admitted stealing the pens while he was interviewed under caution.

The pair both pleaded guilty to theft. They were given unconditional bail while pre-sentence reports are prepared.

Phillips and Evans have 26 and 19 years service to their names respectively, and will face misconduct proceedings in due course according to South Wales Police.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Police officers take a vow to serve the public and uphold the law with fairness, integrity and impartiality. Any who fall short of those standards or who abuse their position, will face disciplinary action, the prospect of criminal prosecution and dismissal.

“As soon as the officers were suspected of acting improperly, an investigation, supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, was launched which culminated in the dedicated integrity test and their subsequent arrest and suspension.”

“I want to reassure the public that we take this type of behaviour very seriously and continue to work hard to root out any corrupt officers and staff.”

Cop In Court

A police officer will appear in court today charged with misconduct in public office.
Intelligence officer Detective Constable Simon Abell is alleged to have sent sexually explicit text messages and carried out sexually inappropriate behaviour against a woman between November 2011 and August 2012, Nottinghamshire Police said.
The force confirmed the 41-year-old, who was based at Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, has been suspended from duty.
Abell, on police bail, will appear before Nottingham Magistrates Court charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office.

Cop Charged With Assault

nickpearce

A police community support officer is to appear in court accused of an assault in South Gloucestershire.

PCSO Nicholas Pearce has been reported for summons to court for common assault.

Avon and Somerset Police said that the family of a 15-year-old boy complained that he had been assaulted by PCSO Pearce during an incident at Downend sports centre in June this year.

“The complaint was investigated by our professional standards department and the evidence passed to the Crown Prosecution Service,” a force spokesman said.

“Authorisation was given to prosecute PCSO Nicholas Pearce for common assault and he has been reported for summons for the offence and will appear before magistrates court at a date to be fixed.

“This action demonstrates that we will vigorously investigate all complaints from the public about alleged misconduct by our staff.”

Corrupt ‘Fit-Up’ Cop Jailed

Daniel-Withnell

A former police officer who accepted a bribe to plant a shotgun in a bid to frame a man has been jailed for four years, police said.

Daniel Withnell, 31, was approached by Claire Smethurst to put the weapon in the man’s car for £19,000 between September 30 and October 30 last year.

He admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing and was today jailed at Manchester Crown Court.

Withnell, of Cranark Close in Bolton, also sent a fake tip-off by text to an officer on March 16, in which he claimed a hitman had been offered money to kill him.

He also used his position to access the force’s database to research a money laundering investigation, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Smethurst, 48, of Westhoughton, Bolton, was found guilty of of perverting the course and was given a 15 month suspended sentence for her role in the plot at the same court on October 9, the force added.

Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said: “The conduct of former DC Daniel Withnell fell well short of what is expected of a police officer.

“Police officers, staff and the communities of Greater Manchester would be appalled by his actions, which detract from the hard work that our officers and staff do on a daily basis.

“GMP expects the very highest standards of all its officers and staff. They should be honest and act with integrity and should not compromise or abuse their position.

“As soon as this conduct came to light, the Professional Standards Branch carried out a thorough investigation, supervised by the IPCC and as a result Mr Withnell has been convicted of two counts of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice and Ms Smethurst has been convicted of perverting the course of justice.”

Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said Withnell faced a dangerous time in jail.

“Going to jail as a former cop is dangerous at any time, but going to jail as a former cop jailed for trying to fit up an innocent man and send him to jail marks Withnell out as a man with a price on his head.

“Withnell is the worst kind of corrupt cop, a loathsome individual who was willing to sacrifice the freedom of an innocent man in exchange for cash – a despicable low life whose past criminal arrests and convictions should now be the subject of review lest he has done this before – and got away with it.”

TERROR COP DENIES MISCONDUCT

A counter-terrorism detective has denied misconduct in a public office over claims she passed information to the News of the World.

DCI April Casburn, 53, is accused of offering the now-defunct tabloid information about Operation Varec, the investigation into whether the Met inquiry into phone hacking should be reopened.

Wearing a red suit, she appeared at the Old Bailey today for a short hearing and entered a not guilty plea to one count of misconduct in a public office.

Casburn was told that a date for her trial will be fixed in the near future.

She is also facing a separate charge under the Official Secrets Act that can only be dealt with by magistrates.

It is alleged that she had secret documents at her home without permission to keep them there.

Casburn, who is currently suspended from work, was released on unconditional bail until her next court appearance.