Friday 21 October 2016

Ex-police officer who visited sex workers while on duty given suspended sentence

Published 25/04/2016 | 16:15

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for two years.
He was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for two years.

An ex-police officer who "deliberately and repeatedly" abused his position within the force avoided an immediate jail sentence after admitting visiting three sex workers while on duty.

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"Family orientated" Darren Bromley, 40, who retired from Greater Manchester Police after the allegations came to light, pleaded guilty to three counts of misconduct in a public office over a year-long period.

Bromley of Middleton, Greater Manchester, was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for two years.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that there had been no "sexual or physical contact", but that he had made the unwanted calls and visits while experiencing marital problems.

In passing sentence, Judge Clement Goldstone QC said Bromley abused his position to "get into the lives and homes" of the women, hoping their "lifestyle would discourage them from complaining".

Bromley, who joined the force in 2001 and worked as a response patrol officer, accepted wilfully misconducting himself by accessing police computers for unauthorised purposes, contacting the women and attending at their home addresses while on duty, knowing that all three were sex workers.

Now working as a driver and a builder of exhibition stands, he was said to have been "unable to articulate his intentions" when visiting at the addresses between January 26 2013 and January 30 2014.

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 married officer, whose 22-year-long relationship has since broken down, was said to have been a "well regarded" officer in the force.

He was described as "hard-working, conscientious and enthusiastic", had been praised by the divisional commander and came to the attention of the chief constable.

His offences were uncovered in early 2014 when social workers visiting one of the complainants saw Bromley attending at the address.

The court heard that Bromley - who had been wearing his police uniform - seemed "surprised" and was to tell them that 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 told that he met the women in the Piccadilly area of Manchester and approached them in his police vehicle before asking for their names and addresses.

Bromley was also to access and view their police records including custody and intelligence records.

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

Miss Horwood spoke of a second woman, saying: "He stayed for a short time, less than 10 minutes. He told her his name was Paul. She felt she should, in her words, 'keep him sweet' because he might arrest her."

The court heard that he had told bosses he was dealing with an incident that involved looking for a male suspect.

Bromley, who was to approach a third woman again in the city's red light district, was to make no less than 28 calls to her on one occasion.

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."

His barrister Miss Lisa Roberts QC said: "Darren Bromley resigned from the police force about 12 months before it came to the crown court. Darren Bromley did not need to resign, he was not required to resign."

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

"He is no longer a thorn in the side of GMP, no longer a logistical headache or embarrassment. Someone who fell on his professional sword many months ago."

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".

Judge Goldstone QC 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. There was no sexual or physical contact with these women.

"You departed from official duties by spending time with witnesses when you should have been properly engaging in police work."

Bromley must also pay £2,500 towards prosecution costs and complete 200 hours' unpaid work.

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".

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."

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