Policeman who 'had sex with women he met on duty' is convicted of misconduct in a public office
A calculating policeman convicted of misconduct in a public office after having sex with women he met on duty has been branded "a disgrace" to the force.
Pc Adam Rushton was found guilty of five counts of misconduct and another of breaching data protection rules by obtaining personal data.
Staffordshire Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker called Rushton "a disgrace to the police service" who had "brought shame on himself, his colleagues" and the force.
The 37-year-old officer, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, denied 10 counts of misconduct and two of breaching data protection laws while employed by Staffordshire Police.
He was acquitted on the remaining counts.
During the Birmingham Crown Court trial, prosecutors said Rushton had taken advantage of his post as a beat officer in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, to have sex with women.
Giving evidence, Rushton, who has been with the force for 10 years, conceded some of his actions were "not very professional" but rejected claims that his conduct amounted to criminal misbehaviour.
During the trial, Rushton said he never expected to end up in the dock after going to one woman's home and having oral sex.
"It's not very professional, I fully accept that, and that it's wrong," he told jurors. "But no way whatsoever did I think I'd be standing here."
He was convicted over that offence, and of making a social visit to another victim, while on the clock.
Rushton was also convicted of having sex with a different woman at her house.
He was found guilty on two counts relating to another woman, whom he met outside work, on one occasion having sex with her while on another exchanging "playful and flirty" text messages before going to her home.
His conviction for breaching data rules was in relation to looking up information relating to a fifth victim.
The offences all happened between 2008 and 2012.
When first interviewed over the allegations in April 2013, he denied sleeping with all but one of the women, but later accepted he had sex with several others.
However, he denied his actions amounted to criminal misconduct.
Rushton had an impressive professional record as a neighbourhood policing officer, with many letters of praise from senior officers.
But Crown Prosecutor Duncan Bould said the constable's duties brought him into contact with "vulnerable and frightened females, often in extreme circumstances" and he had "sought to take advantage of those situations to have sexual activity of some kind with them".
None of the women made any complaints to police about Rushton.
He was conditionally bailed after the verdicts were read out and will be sentenced at the Crown Court on May 1.
After the hearing, Mr Baker apologised to the police officer's victims on behalf of the force.
He said: "This was an astonishing breach of trust by an individual officer and he has badly let down vulnerable victims and their families.
"The public must be able to trust their police officers, and on this occasion they have been let down.
"We made the decision that Rushton should be prosecuted as a police officer, and hope this sends out a very strong message - no matter who you are, and what position you hold, if you commit crime you will be dealt with firmly and robustly."
He added that after the allegations came to light in 2013, the matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which carried out an investigation.
Mr Baker said that, as a result, "robust processes" were now in place to prevent such incidents happening.
IPCC commissioner Kathryn Stone said Rushton had abused a position of trust and used his job "in a calculated manner to satisfy his own sexual desires".
Ms Stone added: "The IPCC has previously expressed concern at the number of cases across England and Wales where officers have targeted vulnerable women for sex and I hope that today's outcome reinforces a message that corrupt officers will be discovered and brought before the courts where appropriate."