Met officer hired to build bridges with LGBT community had sex with vulnerable boy he met on Grindr
A POLICE officer hired to build bridges with the LGBT community had sex with a vulnerable 15-year-old after meeting him on Grindr before trying to cover it up, a misconduct panel found.
The officer, 31, was hired as the Met Police LGBT liaison officer for its East Area Command Unit to gain trust from the community, but his actions may have caused damage at a national level, the panel said.
On the first meeting on August 16 2019, the officer picked up the child, who claimed to be 16 on the dating app, after he sneaked from his parents' home.
He still took him back to his home for sex even after the boy admitted he was only 15 in his car, the panel found.
In a second meeting, the officer took the boy to McDonald's and then his home, despite knowing he had run away from his parents' home ten days later on August 26 and he had a duty as a police officer to report him missing.
Next morning he took the child to a police station, but made no official records of his interaction with the runaway and then, instead, took him personally to social services.
Full details of the officer's sordid behaviour have been released in a summary of the misconduct proceedings after it emerged he was dismissed after being found guilty of gross misconduct this month.
The case was heard in private and the officer has not been named due to concerns about his mental health and welfare.
The panel found from the boy's appearance at the time, he "clearly looked under 16."
The summary said: "We accept Child A's evidence that he disclosed his true age in the car on route to the officer’s house... therefore this officer knew that Child A was underage
in the car and at his house when sexual activity took place.
"It is also plainly apparent that he was a very vulnerable child and that should have been all too obvious to this officer – especially with his unique experience with LGBT issues.
"The officer has focused entirely upon his own self-interest and knowingly broken the law.
"He has then sought to manipulate proper procedures to cover up the relationship for fear of exposure when Child A attended Romford Police Station.
"The officer effectively controls contact with Child A at the police station, does not check databases, does not record a missing person has
been found, does not disclose to anyone his relationship with Child A (either to police or social services).
"This officer was in a trusted position as the LGBT liaison officer for his Borough. It is our opinion that all of the good work that may have been achieved in that role risks being fundamentally undermined by the misconduct found proved.
The panel said "the community the officer was in place to protect was fundamentally let down" and that it would likely "fundamentally damage public trust in policing nationally."
He was not charged with any criminal offence after the CPS said it did not meet the prosecution threshold.
Criminal cases have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, whereas misconduct panels have a lower threshold of "on the balance of probabilities."
A CPS spokesman said: “On three separate occasions, prosecutors examined the evidence in this case and concluded that it did not meet our legal test for a realistic prospect of conviction.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to prosecute rape cases wherever our legal test is met, no matter how challenging the case.”