An ex-Cheshire PCSO has been jailed for ‘abusing his position’ by sending text messages of a sexual nature and photographs of himself to a woman.
Philip Barber, 37, a former police community support officer with Cheshire Police, was charged with two counts of misconduct in public office.
Chester Crown Court heard that Barber visited the woman’s home ‘several times a week’ after she made a complaint to police over anti-social behaviour.
On one occasion he attempted to kiss her, police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct has revealed.
Investigations found he also had sex with a second woman while on duty, the IOPC said.
He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced at Chester Crown Court to eight months in prison, reports the MEN.
The IOPC launched an investigation following allegations Barber ‘abused his position for sexual purpose following his contact with two women whilst on duty in October 2018’.
Barber, from Stoke-on-Trent, was based in Nantwich. He resigned from the force in December 2018.
The IOPC said it completed its investigation in August 2019 and referred evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which then made the decision to charge Barber in February this year.
They said the first woman ‘complied with his visits in the belief that this was a working relationship, and her complaint was being dealt with’.
IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe said:
“Philip Barber abused his position for sexual purpose on multiple occasions, which is a grievous breach of professional standards.
“The evidence we gathered was so overwhelming that he pleaded guilty to his crimes which fortunately spared his victims having to relive their experiences in open court.”
In a statement, the IOPC said:
“On October 18, 2018, Cheshire Constabulary received a report from a member of the public regarding the former PCSO’s conduct.
“He was arrested the following day, and the matter referred to the IOPC.
“Our investigation found that, following a report of anti-social behaviour by one of the women in October 2018, Philip Barber visited her home several times a week, and attempted to kiss her on one occasion before he was asked to leave.
“He also sent photographs of himself and text messages of a sexual nature to her mobile phone.
“The woman complied with his visits in the belief that this was a working relationship, and her complaint was being dealt with.
“During the investigation, the force provided an audit of the former PCSO’s use of police systems.
“This confirmed his contact with a second woman, who later disclosed that she had received communications of a sexual nature, and had sex with him whilst he was on duty.”
Regional director Amanda Rowe added:
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for assisting with this investigation.
“The vast majority of police officers and staff are hardworking and professional, but I hope this sends a clear message to the small minority who act corruptly that they will face the serious consequences of their actions.”
Cheshire Police said Barber joined the force in April 2017 as a special constable before becoming a PCSO in Nantwich a year later. He was suspended when allegations first emerged.
Detective Superintendent Chris Warren said: “As a PCSO Barber held a position of trust and he agreed to abide by the clear guidelines about the standards expected of him.
“Disappointingly, as this conviction shows, his behaviour was totally inappropriate and he clearly failed to meet these standards.
“While Barber pleaded guilty and has now resigned from the force, that does not in any way excuse his behaviour and I hope that the outcome of this case reassures the public by demonstrating that nobody is above the law, no matter what position they hold.”
Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke said: “It is essential that the people of Cheshire have both confidence and trust in the service we deliver. We actively promote the highest standards of personal and professional behaviour and integrity to all officers and staff.
“I want to ensure that anyone who turns to us for help, or who finds themselves in need of our assistance, can be completely confident that they will be treated with the courtesy, respect and professionalism they deserve.
“Sadly, in this case Barber’s behaviour fell well below the level expected of him and grossly undermined the privileged position that his role as a member of Cheshire Constabulary demands and expects.”