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Jail door slams shut on 25-year career of 'betraying' officer


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Specialist training meant 'aggravated' risk from facilitating child sex offending officer, hearing told.

CC Andy Marsh: No place in force for such an officer

CC Andy Marsh: No place in force for such an officer

Date - 12th February 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
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A chief has spoken out over the “aggravated” risk posed by a specialist-trained officer following his sacking for arranging a child sex offence and possessing extreme pornographic images featuring animals.

Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the criminal behaviour of PC Adam Leighton-Price was a matter of “great concern” to the force.

The sacked officer – also placed on the College of Policing’s Barred List – chose not to attend his misconduct hearing at the Portishead police HQ because he did not believe it would be "fair and just" while the Police Federation spurned an opportunity to represent him.

But CC Marsh feared added concerns that the 45-year-old’s case would “impact on the confidence of any member of the public who is aware of the circumstances”.

The disciplinary panel chairman said it had been necessary for the force to carry out a full safeguarding review and liaise with partner agencies to identify and address a ‘risk list’.

After handing out a ‘dismissal without notice’ in the officer’s absence, the chief constable added: “I have read and considered PC Leighton-Price’s record of service and note he has received training in tackling child sexual exploitation, modern slavery and protecting vulnerable people.

“His role awareness because of his training are aggravating features of gross misconduct.

“The convictions are serious and completely incompatible with any role as a serving officer.

"That an officer can behave in such a criminal way gives me great concern.

“There is no place in policing for such criminal behaviour.”

PC Leighton-Price’s special case hearing followed an appearance at Gloucester Crown Court last month, in which he admitted one count of arranging or facilitating a child sex offence, involving a child under the age of 13, and three counts of possessing extreme pornographic images. These images depicted sexual acts involving animals.

He will be sentenced later this month.

The initial allegations arose as a result of the officer meeting a female online on Plenty of Fish. The conversation turned sexually explicit, with PC Leighton-Price making sexually suggestive comments and requests to the woman and her children.

His crimes were first exposed after someone he had been speaking with via social media alerted a child protection charity with their worries. The concerns were passed onto the force, which suspended Leighton-Price while an investigation was carried out.

Superintendent Richard Corrigan, head of the force’s professional standards department, condemned the officer’s actions, adding: “His crimes have had a significant impact on those who worked with him who were completely unaware of the appalling offences he was committing online.”

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Having spent much of my career in CP I believe there is a limited length of time you can undertake such work and the risk of seeing the things you do as becoming normality. We know this from attending horrific RTAs and seeing what most members of the public would find disturbing. We mop up serious and fatal accidents, or attend a death scene will horrendous violence, then head back to the office for lunch. 

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1 hour ago, Cathedral Bobby said:

Having spent much of my career in CP I believe there is a limited length of time you can undertake such work and the risk of seeing the things you do as becoming normality. We know this from attending horrific RTAs and seeing what most members of the public would find disturbing. We mop up serious and fatal accidents, or attend a death scene will horrendous violence, then head back to the office for lunch. 

What you say does have some credence but, I do not think that there is any way that anyone could even try to justify his actions. I look forward to him receiving a substantial prison sentence.

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44 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:

What you say does have some credence but, I do not think that there is any way that anyone could even try to justify his actions. I look forward to him receiving a substantial prison sentence.

There is no excuse at all and he deserves, as you say, a substantial prison sentence. Now there are psychometric tests and things these officers are subject to, but I think it should be a couple of years and move on. Remember, for the greater good we are asking officers to do something which in any other walk of life, is a serious crime, day in, day out. We don't ask detectives to burgle, we don't ask drug squad officers to take drugs, and we don't ask armed officers to shoot people for practice. It is not a nice job and I personally hate it.

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We only did vice for 2 years max and after a while you did get some what desensitised by what you dealt with. You also looked for possible signs amongst your squad and to deal with it.

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21 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:

We only did vice for 2 years max and after a while you did get some what desensitised by what you dealt with. You also looked for possible signs amongst your squad and to deal with it.

But the crimes he has committed are due to him taking his work home as it were. He has become desensitized to the extent that for me he sees it as normal. We have to have better safeguards for officers who are subject to this kind of work. In my inspection days I was a great believer in inspectors returning to practice every now and then so that they could see the reality and experience work at the coalface, updating their processional practice. Without this, what they considered to be normal or best practice bore no relation to the real world. Hence inspectors are often thought to be out of date. It is the same for whenever you take on particularly specialist posts. I always believed that specialist officers should return to uniform policing after a period to understand the changes in policing, which I believe are often seen best from the patrol officer perception. Some specialist posts such as dogs/traffic/ARV etc work/support response officers anyway so this is not such an issue.

Add this case to the recent Met officers who became complacent in working with victims of abuse, and there is merit in limiting exposure to this particularly difficult field of work.

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Final custodial ignominy for sacked PC who tried to groom a mother to abuse her own children.

Misconduct hearing: Portishead HQ

Misconduct hearing: Portishead HQ

Date - 19th February 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

 

A judge has joined in the condemnation of a specialist-trained officer by imposing a 12-month prison term for “betraying” the service in trying to groom a mother to sexually abuse her young children.

The sentence handed out by Judge Ian Lawrie was the final ignominy for Avon and Somerset PC Adam Leighton-Price’s previously unblemished 25-year career in policing.

The Gloucester Crown Court judge spoke of the lies by Leighton-Price in pretending he also had a young daughter to the woman he encouraged the abuse and claims he had been a victim himself as a child.

The judge’s comments echoed those of Chief Constable Andy Marsh last week when he sacked Leighton-Price after failing to attend a special case hearing at the Portishead police HQ.

CC Marsh expressed grave concerns the 45-year-old’s case would “impact on the confidence of any member of the public who is aware of the circumstances” and the officer’s training in tackling child sexual exploitation, modern slavery and protecting vulnerable people posed an “aggravated” risk.

The force admitted it had been necessary to carry out a full safeguarding review and liaise with partner agencies to identify and address a ‘risk list’.

In court, Leighton-Price – a serving officer since 1994 – admitted making the requests to the mother, who had a girl aged two and a six-month-old baby.

In November 2017, he pleaded guilty to one count of arranging or facilitating a child sex offence, involving a child under the age of 13, and three counts of possessing extreme pornographic images. These images depicted sexual acts involving animals.

In addition to the jail sentence, Leighton-Price was also placed on the sex offender register for 10 years.

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12 months, is that all. I do hope that the prosecution, or anybody, appeals the leniency of the sentence.

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