'Sexual predator' police officers who abuse their position 'aren't vetted properly' warns watchdog

David Harding
Contributor
Disgraced officers Ian Naude (left), Palvinder Singh and Sussex chief inspector Rob Leet all abused their positions. (PA)

A police watchdog has demanded forces do more to root out ‘sexual predator’ officers who abuse their position for sex.

A string of police officers have been jailed or reprimanded for abusing their power - often with vulnerable crime victims - prompting concerns over vetting procedures.

A report by police watchdog Inspectorate of Constabulary said forces must do more to root out sexual predators.

It estimates that 35,000 people working for police forces across England and Wales have not been properly vetted.

Among the high-profile cases highlighted was Ian Naude, a paedophile police constable with an “insatiable appetite” for preying on young girls.

Naude was jailed for 25 years (PA)

He was jailed for 25 years last December.

Naude raped and sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl who he met while serving as a student officer with Cheshire Police.

He was sentenced for 37 offences and was obsessed with taking the virginity of teenage girls who he groomed online, joining the force in April 2017 “to gain the keys to a sweetshop”.

Inspector of Constabulary’s Zoe Billingham described him as a “despicable individual” and said had earlier leads been followed up after he passed vetting it was “possible he might not have been appointed as a police officer.”

The report added that on average 13% of people in each force have not been vetted.

Other incidents cited by the watchdog include that of married West Midlands police constable Palvinder Singh.

Palvinder Singh, who was jailed in July (West Midlands Police)

He sent sexual messages to vulnerable victims while at work and was jailed for 14 months after admitting the improper exercise of police powers and privileges.

Singh sent “hundreds and hundreds” of flirty messages to four victims, including ones about bondage and threesomes.

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In one day alone, while on duty, he contacted a domestic abuse victim 399 times.

Also cited is the case of Northumbria police constable Stephen Mitchell was jailed for life for raping and sexually assaulting vulnerable women in 2011 but was released last year, despite anger at the decision to free him.

Sussex chief inspector Rob Leet

There was also the highly publicised case of Rob Leet, the chief inspector who quit Sussex Police after a string of sexual allegations.

As well as having an affair with a colleague while at work, and using work systems to arrange their meetings, he was also found to have taken advantage of a “potentially vulnerable” victim of domestic abuse by having a sexual relationship with her.

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