Northumbria Police officer accused of sexually abusing vulnerable crime victim

A Northumbria police officer has been accused of “historic” sexual abuse and activity towards a vulnerable victim he met on duty while investigating crimes against her back in 2005.

The officer, who has not been publicly named, is alleged to have tried to have sex with the woman, without her consent, while she was asleep at her home and to have engaged in sexual activity with her while he was on duty, a police misconduct tribunal has heard.

The officer, only known as Officer J, is said to admit having a relationship with the woman, but denies three allegations of misconduct arguing that all sexual contact between them was consensual and happened while he was off duty.

He also claims to have been unaware of her vulnerabilities, the hearing was told.

Olivia Checa-Dover, representing Northumbria Police’s Professional Standards Department, explained how the allegations emerged after a woman, who is referred to as Ms A, contacted police about a problem she was having with her neighbours.

“So even without information about other factors of vulnerability, the very circumstances of an individual approaching the police for help give rise for the potential of vulnerability. That’s how officers should be thinking.

The victim called the police to “help down to ongoing issues with neighbours damaging her property, about what she was having to endure in her home. This is a woman going through a very difficult time.”

Ms Checa-Dover explained that Officer J continued to visit the woman at her home. Sometimes in his uniform with his police radio on.

“She had formed the view before things went wrong that Officer J was a genuine officer that cared about her situation so she put the attention he was giving her down to that,” said Ms Checa-Dover.

But on one occasion he attempted to have sex with her as she slept, the hearing was told.

“She recalls Officer J attended her home, she at some stage falling asleep and waking to find him trying to have sex with her,” she said “She remembers [another person in the property at the same time] witnessing the aftermath,” said Ms Checa-Dover.

Ms Checa-Dover explained that although the alleged misconduct happened almost 20 years ago the same standards of behaviour expected of police officers today applied back then.

“These things happened in 2004/05. It’s not the case that the standards of professional behaviour that applied to all officers on and off duty did not exist in the same terms back then,” she said.

“It should be obvious to him that Ms A had at least the potential to be vulnerable by virtue of her circumstances and if there was a potential for her to be vulnerable he shouldn’t have gone about going to her home to engage in sexual activity with her. I submit it’s inconceivable the officer wouldn’t have seen any signs of vulnerability.”

Guy Ladenburg, representing Officer J, explained that the cop does not deny going to the woman’s home and having a sexual relationship with her. But argues she consented and that the officer was not aware that she was vulnerable.

He said: “The officer does not dispute that 18 or so years ago he conducted a sexual relationship with Ms A. This happened exclusively when he was off duty.

“It’s a consensual relationship between two consenting adults, when he was off duty.

“It’s the officer’s case that he never had any knowledge about the factors that resulted in Ms A being vulnerable at that time.

“The officer maintains that any sexual activity was entirely consensual.”

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