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COPS BEHAVING BADLY: West Midlands Police sees sharp rise in officers 'abusing their position fo

DISGRACED: Former DS Marcus O'Dell

BRITAIN'S second biggest police force has revealed a huge rise in complaints about officers abusing their position to get sex.

West Midlands Police saw a 50 per cent increase in the complaints from 2014 to 2018.

A strategic threat assessment for the force released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that there were complaints about 145 officers from 2014 to October 8 2018.

The number recorded in 2018 was 50 per cent higher than those reported in 2014.

Cops are not allowed to pursue sexual relations with anyone they come into contact with during the course of their work - particularly vulnerable people.

The report said the Me Too movement, which has seen an increase in reports of sex abuse and harassment across many sectors including the film and music industries and big business, had lead to greater awareness and reporting of such offences.

Numbers are expected to rise even higher, the report said.

Thirty nine of the officers under suspicion were either dismissed or dodged any disciplinary action by resigning, retiring or taking redundancy.

The report said that investigations found 63 employees who had potentially abused their position for sex or to try to get it.

One police officer kept his job despite pursuing "an improper emotional and sexual relationship" with a vulnerable woman he met while on duty.

PC Matthew Crowe was been disciplined for gross misconduct following an investigation.

PC Crowe gave the woman his mobile phone number and contacted her between April and October 2017 the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found. He accepted his conduct breached professional standards and was given a final written warning. Former detective sergeant Marcus O'Dell, 47, was sacked from the force, but dodged jail, after he admitted voyeurism after 'observing a person doing a private act' between May 2016 and 2018.

At Stafford Crown Court he was sentenced to four months in jail, suspended for 12 months, and placed on the sex offenders' register.

He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, pay £340 costs and a £140 victim surcharge.

Pc James Ankrett, 38, is the latest officer from the force to face allegations.

He has been charged with misconduct in a public office in connection with claims he had a sexual relationship with a domestic abuse victim between July 7, 2017 and May 5, 2018.

He also faces a charge of corrupt/improper exercise of police powers and privileges by a constable, contrary to section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

PRIORITY: Chief Supt Chris Todd

Chief Supt Chris Todd, head of West Midlands Professional Standards Department, said: "This is one of our key priorities. We have run awareness raising campaigns internally and also externally, particularly with those partners most likely to work with vulnerable people that also come in contact with our officers and staff.

"We encourage confidential reporting externally through Crimestoppers and internally through the confidential corruption line, but we also demonstrate support to witnesses and victims and encourage bystanders to come forward.

"Our proactive capabilities are also improving and as a result of all this activity we have seen an increase in reporting and successful prosecution of offenders either criminally or through gross misconduct hearings.

"People should not see the increase in reporting and prosecution of an increasing threat however, but rather as an indication of greater confidence in our willingness and ability to tackle this threat robustly."

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