Willenhall police officer guilty of statement forgery
A West Midlands Police officer has received a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to forgery.
PC Stuart Williams, of Albert Clarke Drive, Willenhall, admitted forging a signature on a retraction statement.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the forgery effectively withdrew a woman's report of harassment against an ex-partner.
Williams was handed a four-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and has since resigned from the force.
Williams was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,400 following the trial at Coventry Crown Court on Monday.
The IPCC said Williams took a statement from the woman who reported her former partner for harassing and threatening her in July 2010.
The report was filed as undetected the following May because of the retraction statement completed by Williams.
The forgery came to light when the woman made a similar report of harassment involving the same man and denied "ever having agreed to or signing an earlier retraction statement," the IPCC said.
The former partner was arrested in 2011 and later released without charge.
'Failed to protect'
The IPCC commissioner for East England, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: "It is hard to understand this officer's motivation for forging the woman's signature, but in doing so he placed a vulnerable woman at risk and closed a crime which should have remained open.
"Responding promptly to domestic abuse allegations and investigating them thoroughly is a high priority for all police forces and it is therefore very disturbing that this officer failed in his duty to protect, committing a criminal offence of forgery, which could have had dire consequences for the woman.
"The officer would now have faced a gross misconduct hearing but we understand he has resigned."
West Midlands Police said it had accepted Williams' resignation with immediate effect.
A force spokesperson said: "The public should be reassured that West Midlands Police expects the highest standards of professionalism from its officers.
"The force will fully investigate any complaint and take any necessary action against an officer involved if the complaint is upheld."