Saturday, April 30, 2016

UK: Married ex-cop who 'deliberately and repeatedly' abused his position by visiting three prostitutes while on duty avoids jail

A married ex-police officer who 'deliberately and repeatedly' abused his position by turning up at the homes of three prostitutes while he was on duty has avoided jail.

Darren Bromley, 40, used Greater Manchester Police resources to track down the sex workers before trying to 'get into the lives and homes'.

The court was told how Bromley first came across the women in Manchester city centre before making contact with them during shifts under the pretence that he was carrying out investigations.

In a bid to distract himself from marital problems, he phoned one women nearly 30 times, while telling another that he would arrest her unless she 'kept him sweet'.

The former officer - described as 'family orientated' - persisted in his behaviour in the belief that the women would not complain because of their 'lifestyle', the court was told.

But he was caught when social workers saw him turning up at one of the women's homes in his police uniform and asked the woman about his bizarre behaviour.

The former officer has now been sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to three counts of misconduct in a public office.

Passing sentence, Judge Clement Goldstone QC said Bromley 'shattered' the women's trust.  He said: 'You deliberately and repeatedly abused your position as a serving police officer. 'You shattered their trust in the police. By your conduct, you brought the reputation of your colleagues and GMP into disrepute.

'When your marriage got into difficulties you used the opportunity of contact with street workers as a way to resolve your domestic difficulties.'

Liverpool Crown Court was told how Bromley, who joined the force in 2001, met the women in the Piccadilly area of Manchester where he approached them in his police vehicle before asking for their names and addresses. He then accessed and viewed their police records including custody and intelligence records.

After that, Bromley, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, continued to manipulate the force systems to track down information about the women, before turning up at their homes unannounced.

The court was told that there was no 'sexual or physical contact' and that he was 'unable to articulate his intentions' when visiting at the addresses.

But he covered his tracks by telling bosses he was dealing with an incident that involved looking for a male suspect.

The married officer, whose 22-year-long relationship has since broken down, was said to have been a 'well regarded' officer in the force and did not fall under suspicion until he was rumbled by social workers.

Miss Anya Horwood, for the prosecution, said: 'The prosecution take the view the real mischief that this defendant has committed, is he has spent his time when being paid by the public, using the computer and various police radios to contact these complainants, one of them 28 times by telephone.

'There were no legitimate policing purposes involved. He is unable to articulate his intentions but accepts contemplating formulating a relationship.'

The court was told that the women had been fearful that he may arrest them.

Referring to a ten-minute visit which Bromley made to a second woman, Miss Horward said: 'He told her his name was Paul. She felt she should, in her words, "keep him sweet" because he might arrest her.'

The court was told how Bromley, who approached one of the women in the city's red light district, also made 28 calls to one of the women. Miss Horwood added: 'She said that he complained when she didn't answer telephone calls and was fearful that he would arrest her.

'She said he would park his car a short distance away, when he was with her his police radio would ring on a regular basis and he would ignore these calls.'

When Bromley was caught in 2014, the court heard that he seemed 'surprised' and told them he was making inquiries relating to trouble with youngsters.

Miss Horwood said: 'After the defendant left she (complainant) explained to the social workers about the defendant's behaviour and regular attendances at her home.  'All of the visits were during his hours of duty. Because of what she told police, investigations continued. They revealed visits to the home addresses of two other sex workers. These again when on duty and no legitimate purposes.'

The court was read extracts from the complainants' Victim Personal Statements which detailed how the former police officer's offending had impacted upon them. One woman, who suffered with mental health issues, said she had taken an overdose of drugs and alcohol.  The woman spoke of her vulnerability, adding that she later realised the officer abused his position and took advantage of her.

She said that as a result of Bromley's offending she felt unable to trust the police and was unable to settle at home if she saw or heard a police car near her home.

Another said that she had been concerned that she would not be believed.

The third added that Bromley would turn up at her address without any warning and spoke of his 'arrogance'.

Defending, his barrister Lisa Roberts QC said Bromley had done the right thing by resigning.

She said that, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, officers refuse to go, adding: 'He could have taken that path - he did not.

She added that he 'had lost his good name in the profession that he loved' and was a man 'incapable of articulating what was his motivation in contacting these women other than he was lonely at the time, he sought some form of solace and contact with them'.

After the hearing, chief superintendent Annette Anderson, head of GMP's Professional Standards Branch, said Bromley's 'inexcusable actions' fell well below the expected standards of professional behaviour.

She said: 'He let everyone down, both those that the police are there to protect and those who work selflessly to deliver policing across Greater Manchester.  'Our role is to uphold the law and to protect our communities.

'It is my hope that the thorough investigation and the outcome in this case sends out a clear message that we will not accept anything but the highest of standards from all of our officers.'

Bromley was ordered £2,500 towards prosecution costs and complete 200 hours' unpaid work.

Original report here

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