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Two former West Midlands Police officers jailed for sexual misconduct targeting vulnerable women

Two "predatory" former West Midlands Police officers who formed inappropriate sexual relationships and engaged in sexual activity with women they met on duty have been jailed.

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Former PCs Steven Walters and Anthony Ritchie

Anthony Ritchie, 46, and Steven Walters, 55, even targeted the same woman whilst on duty which had a "massive impact" on her mental health.

The pair were found guilty in July at Birmingham Crown Court of two counts of misconduct and were sentenced today.

A victim said in a statement to court about Walters: "I can't understand how any decent human being could do what he did.

"He has absolutely ruined my life. He has changed the person I am."

Ritchie, of East Meadway, Tile Cross, Birmingham, was jailed for four years by Judge Roderick Henderson on Thursday.

Walters, of Winster Green, Newhall, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, appeared in the dock alongside his former colleague and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Walters previously served a four-year sentence for sexually assaulting two different women in 2015 whilst on duty, the court was told.

Judge Henderson praised the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for bringing the former officers to justice. Ritchie was only sacked this month by the force.

He said: "Above all I am grateful to the three complainants in this case - these were brave women who came forward and stood up for themselves and their community.

"They, above all, deserve our thanks. The effects of sexual offending are never over once the act stops - they continue to ripple out, often for years."

He added: "There are many victims: the public, who will find it harder to trust police officers, and your former colleagues who will find it harder to get members of the public to trust them in their duties."

Ritchie began an inappropriate sexual relationship with the woman in 2014 after he responded to a reported domestic violence incident.

The inquiries indicated he sent her messages from his personal phone and they had sex after he arrested her partner, who was then remanded in custody.

Both men engaged in sexual activity with the same victim; Walters at the woman’s home address in October 2013 while PC Ritchie began an inappropriate relationship with the same woman following his initial visit to her home in June 2014.

Following a previous police visit, PC Ritchie also contacted another vulnerable woman by telephone before visiting her home address and having sex with her while on duty. He began an inappropriate relationship with the woman and then asked her to lie to a superior officer about how the relationship had started.

Walters, who was dismissed by West Midlands Police for gross misconduct in 2016, also engaged in sexual activity with another woman while on duty on July 14, 2013.

In May 2021, another woman came forward to say she had a relationship with Ritchie in 2014 after he asked for a date, having gone to her home in a bid to arrest her son.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “This was predatory behaviour from two police officers who abused their position of trust while on duty serving the public.

“Both Walters and Ritchie took advantage of vulnerable women after visiting them for police purposes. I want to commend the bravery of the women in this case for coming forward and providing the evidence to enable us to secure these convictions.”

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