‘Abhorrent’ police officer sacked for ‘sexualised’ relationship with domestic abuse victim

An “abhorrent” police officer who admitted a relationship with a vulnerable domestic abuse victim has been sacked at a misconduct hearing.

Abused his position: Pc James Ankrett
Abused his position: Pc James Ankrett

A police officer who admitted a relationship with a vulnerable domestic abuse victim has been sacked at a misconduct hearing.

Pc James Ankrett was dismissed from West Midlands Police without notice by the force’s Chief Constable yesterday. The hearing took place after Pc Ankrett admitted “corrupt or other improper exercise of police powers” at Wolverhampton Crown Court last month.

Herjinder Singh, solicitor at legal services at West Midlands Police, told the hearing that the offence by the officer, who is from Hednesford was “especially serious”.

Mr Singh said Pc Ankrett had made a deliberate decision to give his personal mobile phone number to a member of the public – and the communication quickly became “flirtatious and sexualised”.

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The misconduct hearing, conducted in the absence of the officer, was told the victim was “harmed” by the relationship and Pc Ankrett’s intention was sexual gratification and was a “serious abuse of his position as a police officer”.

Mr Singh added the officer had made “no attempt” to seek advice from colleagues or senior officer over the inappropriate relationship – and the case had caused a “significant” amount of public concern.

Chief Constable Sir David Thompson, who chaired the hearing, said the victim had placed considerable trust in the officer which was “exploited to create an opportunity for a sexual relationship”. He said the case was of “deep public concern”.

Dismissing the officer for gross misconduct at the accelerated misconduct hearing at the force’s HQ in Birmingham, he said: “This behaviour is a matter of deep public concern at this time. The issue of Violence Against Women and Girls requires the police to act as champions for the fair treatment of women. Public trust is undermined when officers behave as this officer has.

“Officers like this have no place in West Midlands Police. They are an abhorrence to the men and women who make up this organisation who go out day in day out to protect the most vulnerable. They damage our standing and professional reputation. We will root them out and not only dismiss them but actively seek prosecutions when criminal laws have been broken.”

Pc Ankrett had previously pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court to a charge of corrupt/improper exercise of police powers and privileges by a constable, contrary to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

The conviction relates to a breach of his position of trust as a police officer after engaging in a relationship with a domestic abuse victim during the course of his duties.

The officer was charged in 2019 following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

A force response officer, Pc Ankrett was restricted from duties and has been working in a non-public facing role since the allegation was made.

He was previously suspended from duties, and is now set to be sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court next week.

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