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Wednesday 30 July 2014

PCSO had sex on duty, court told

Published 05/03/2013|16:11

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PCSO Peter Bunyan denies 12 counts of misconduct in a public office

A married police community support officer "used the criminal intelligence system as a dating agency" to strike up affairs with single mothers and victims of domestic abuse while on duty, a court has been told.

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Peter Bunyan, an officer with Devon and Cornwall Police, is alleged to have accessed highly sensitive police data to perform background checks on women and their former partners after so-called "welfare" visits to victims of crime.

He is accused of neglecting his duties by turning his police radio down on shifts before having sex with women, including at a police neighbourhood office, as well as encouraging one mentally ill woman to send explicit pictures of herself on email to the police station.

Bunyan, a father-of-two, denies 12 counts of misconduct in a public office, taking place over a five-year period in the Camborne and Redruth areas of west Cornwall. The case is being held at Taunton Crown Court, Somerset, out of the Devon and Cornwall Police force area.

Prosecutor Simon Burns told the jury: "This is not a court of morals. You will hear all sorts of sordid details in relation to this case. He (Bunyan) has abused his position as a police officer by targeting women - targeting vulnerable women - and conducting inappropriate sexual relationships with them while on duty. He has behaved, while on duty as a police officer, inappropriately and unprofessionally. Not only was he in his full uniform... but occasionally even turned down or off his police radio."

Mr Burns said Bunyan had sex with women at various locations, including at a neighbourhood police office. Bunyan also accessed the police database, where he was able to find highly personal details about people in the community, including the women he targeted, the court heard.

Mr Burns added: "He used that confidential information, which is not allowed to be simply looked at by a police officer, unless they have a lawful reason for doing so. You don't look up somebody simply to be nosy, to look at where they live, to look for their telephone numbers. He abused the police computer system to his own advantage. You do not use the criminal intelligence system as a dating agency."

Mr Burns said the public expected PCSOs such as Bunyan to protect them on the streets, "not to be in bed with them". Bunyan admits having sex with four women - who include single mothers, women in their 20s, and victims of domestic abuse - but said it was off duty. He denies sex with a fifth woman. All five say the sex was consensual.

Camborne PCSO Andrew Richards told the court he worked with Bunyan for about nine months and that the defendant's timing was "atrocious". He said: "Sometimes he would go on patrol by himself and I would never get any answer from him. A number of times I would use the PTT (press to transmit radio) and he would never reply to me." Mr Richards said he would quiz Bunyan on what he had been doing but the latter would reply: "A bit of this, a bit of that." Mr Richards added: "Every day and every shift we'd lose an hour of his time."

Michael Melville-Shreeve, for Bunyan, said his client had never experienced any disciplinary problems. He added: "It is very surprising that a man can miss an hour of every shift without being noticed by Devon and Cornwall Police, don't you think? Or are you exaggerating?" Mr Richards replied: "I never exaggerate, I tell the truth." Bunyan, 40, of Carharrack near Camborne, denies all charges. The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

Press Association

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