Former Cambridgeshire police officer sent sex messages to victims of domestic violence

091022 police stock shot
Michael Latimer, a former officer with Cambridgeshire Police, abused his position to get in touch with three women in order to send them “flirtatious or sexualised messages" Credit: PA Images

A police officer flirted with domestic violence victims after accessing confidential information about them, a disciplinary panel has heard.

Michael Latimer, a former officer with Cambridgeshire Police, abused his position to get in touch with three women in order to send them “flirtatious or sexualised messages" between January and April 2020.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) heard all three had been victims of crime, and two were victims of domestic violence.

The disciplinary panel concluded Latimer had shown gross misconduct and said he would have been sacked for his "sexually inappropriate behaviour" if he had not already quit the force.

Latimer, who did not attend the two-day hearing, resigned from the force in September 2020 while the IOPC was investigating.

Prior to the hearing, he accepted having abused his position with respect to one of the women and that he exchanged sexualised messages with another, the IOPC said.

He maintained that his contact with the third woman was innocent, but the woman said she felt preyed upon by his actions.

IOPC regional director Graham Beesley said: “By contacting vulnerable women, two of whom were victims of domestic abuse, for a sexual purpose after he had accessed confidential information about them, former PC Latimer abused the trust and power placed in him as a police officer.

"Inappropriate behaviour such as this has no place in policing and damages the public’s trust and confidence in policing.

"The panel decided he would have been dismissed with immediate effect had he still been serving and officers who choose to abuse their position and engage in this type of conduct should expect to face serious consequences."

Latimer will now be placed on the police barred list, meaning he can no longer be employed by the police service.

The IOPC began its investigation in May 2020 following a conduct referral from the force.

Investigators secured evidence from the former officer’s work and personal phone, took witness statements and interviewed him under criminal and misconduct caution.

In June 2021 the IOPC concluded its investigation and found that the former officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

The IOPC also referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which decided to take no further action.

Deputy Chief Constable Jane Gyford, of Cambridgeshire Police, said: “Latimer’s conduct was appalling and does not reflect the overwhelming majority of our officers and staff who reflect our true standards of behaviour.”