Police officer jailed over inappropriate relationship with vulnerable woman

18 October 2021, 23:29 | Updated: 18 October 2021, 23:31

Former police officer James Ankrett has been jailed for five months
Former police officer James Ankrett has been jailed for five months. Picture: West Midlands Police

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A former police officer has been jailed after pursuing an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable woman he met during his duties.

James Ankrett, 40, was sentenced to five months in prison at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday.

He admitted improper exercise of police powers and privileges at the same court last month.

Ankrett had been charged following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

In a statement issued after the ex-West Midlands Police officer was sentenced, the IOPC said he became involved with a woman after attending an incident at her home in the summer of 2017.

The watchdog said evidence gathered during its investigation indicated he had subsequently sent the woman inappropriate messages and pictures of himself undressed whilst on and off duty.

IOPC regional director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, said: "Cases where officers abuse their position for sexual purposes are among the most serious examples of corruption that we investigate.

"The public has a right to expect police officers to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, and that those who fail to do so will be investigated and dealt with robustly."

Mr Campbell added: "Police are taught to maintain professional boundaries between themselves and members of the public, who are often in vulnerable situations when they come into contact with officers.

"PC Ankrett now has a criminal conviction to his name and has paid a heavy price for stepping over that boundary.

"We would like to reiterate to police officers and staff, current or former, that we have a whistleblowing line for police officers and staff to report concerns of wrongdoing where they believe a criminal offence has been committed, or evidence of conduct that would justify disciplinary proceedings."

Ankrett was dismissed last week at an accelerated misconduct hearing, having been suspended from duty after pleading guilty.

The former force response officer was previously restricted from duties and worked in a non-public facing role.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Sir David Thompson, who chaired the disciplinary hearing, said: "Officers like this have no place in West Midlands Police.

"They are an abhorrence to the men and women who make up this organisation who go out day in day out to protect the most vulnerable."