Former police officer failed to report “sexually explicit conversation” with convicted paedophile

PUBLISHED: 12:45 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:45 16 November 2018

PC John Storie was found guilty of gross misconduct at a panel hearing at Chelmsford Civic Centre on Tuesday.

PC John Storie was found guilty of gross misconduct at a panel hearing at Chelmsford Civic Centre on Tuesday.

Archant

A former police officer based in Essex has been found guilty of gross misconduct after having a sexually explicit conversation with a convicted paedophile and failing to report it.

PC John Storie had the conversation via text message and WhatsApp on December 20 last year, a misconduct panel heard.

He encouraged the offender to describe what would be considered to be serious sexual abuse against a child and asked him to send him images and videos.

The officer did not report the man to the police, Essex Police said.

These matters came to light when police began an investigation into the man PC Storie had been in contact with.

The officer was voluntarily interviewed in May this year and suspended from duty while an investigation was carried out.

Enquiries were completed and no criminal offences were found to have been committed by the officer.

As part of the investigation, a search warrant was carried out at PC Storie’s home address in which two live rounds of ammunition were found. He did not have a firearm certificate for the bullets, which was a criminal offence, and he accepted a caution in connection with this matter.

A misconduct hearing was held at the Chelmsford Civic Centre on Tuesday, November 13.

The panel, led by legally qualified chair Monica Daley, ruled that the former officer had breached the professional standards of behaviour of integrity, duties and responsibilities, and discreditable conduct in relation to the conversation about child sexual abuse.

Panel members also found he had breached the professional standards of behaviour of integrity and discreditable conduct in relation to the ammunition offence.

The former officer, who did not attend the hearing, was based in Colchester until he retired in September.

The panel ruled his behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and decided he would have been dismissed if he had not previously been medically retired. He will be placed on the College of Policing Police Barred List.

Speaking after the hearing, panel member Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner, said: “Protecting the most vulnerable members of our society is at the very heart of the role of being a police officer.

“The sexual abuse of children is among the most abhorrent of crimes. For an officer to engage in sexually explicit conversation with a sex offender and to not report him is vile and reprehensible.

“Upholding the law is fundamental to policing and there is absolutely no place in Essex Police for such despicable behaviour.”

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