Essex

Essex PC Matthew Langford sent victim flirty messages

A "predatory" police officer sent "flirty" messages to a teenage recruit and a crime victim, a misconduct hearing was told.

Essex Police PC Matthew Langford was found guilty of gross misconduct after taking a woman's number from case files in order to send her personal messages.

He also sent texts to an 18-year-old who was hoping to join the force, calling her "a pretty little thing".

The panel ruled the officer would have been sacked if he had not resigned.

Panel chairman John Bassett said: "We have seen a course of predatory conduct towards young and vulnerable females."

He said PC Langford's messages had been "testing the water in the hope of developing a sexual relationship".

'Weird and unprofessional'

PC Langford, who was based at Clacton and did not attend the hearing, had previously gone through disciplinary proceedings for a similar incident in which he messaged an 18-year-old crime victim in 2009, the hearing at Chelmsford Civic Centre was told.

Stephen Morley, acting for Essex Police, said between 2014 and 2015 PC Langford had messaged the 18-year-old, known as Miss A, telling her she was a "pretty little thing" and asking if she needed picking up from a night out as "my wife's out and you can come back to mine".

The officer, who quit in May 2018, had been contacted by Miss A as her aunt had put her in touch with him to find out how to join the special constabulary.

She later quit the role due to her fears of working with PC Langford, the hearing was told.

Mr Morley said PC Langford obtained "Miss B's" mobile phone number from police files in 2017 after she reported a domestic abuse incident involving her ex-partner.

He sent her "weird and unprofessional" messages including asking her if she was "thinking the same as me", which she took to be him "chatting her up", the hearing was told.

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