Former police officer who started sexual relationship with vulnerable woman he met on duty is jailed
Darren Thorn was dismissed from the force after a gross misconduct hearing last year
A police officer has been jailed after he started an “inappropriate sexual relationship” with a vulnerable woman he met while on duty.
Darren Thorn was jailed for nine months after previously pleading guilty to corruption, computer misuse and misconduct in a public office.
Thorn, who worked as a PC for Wiltshire Police until he was dismissed in December, appeared at Reading Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday.
The charges centred on a relationship that Thorn started with a vulnerable woman he met while on duty.
They included accessing police computer systems in order to obtain personal data about members of the public and passing on confidential information to the woman.
Thorn, who worked as a response officer in Swindon, was arrested in 2018 when the allegations came to light and suspended from the Force.
The investigation was carried out by Wiltshire Police, supervised by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Once he was convicted in court, a public gross misconduct hearing was able to be held.
The hearing considered six counts of gross misconduct, all of which were upheld and Thorn was dismissed with immediate effect.
‘I hope this acts as a strong deterrent’
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said: “We have been clear throughout this process that Thorn’s actions were not only illegal, but were a significant and sustained breach of the very highest standards that the public and we expect from all our police officers and staff.
He added that the force welcomed the sentence, saying: “I hope this acts as a strong deterrent for those who consider abusing the trust the public place in them.
“I would like to pay tribute to the female witness involved in this case, who not only had the courage to report this matter to us, but has also fully cooperated with us throughout this lengthy investigation.
“Every person who has an interaction with a representative of Wiltshire Police should have the confidence that they will be treated with care and professionalism, and it is completely unacceptable when these high standards are not met.
“Thorn’s crimes will have harmed public confidence in policing and undermined the work of the vast majority of our police officers and staff who are committed to providing the very highest levels of service to our communities in Swindon and Wiltshire.
“Furthermore, if any member of the public has concerns relating to the professionalism of any officer or staff member, we would urge them to contact us in confidence so we can address the concerns raised.”
‘Cases like this chip away at public confidence’
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon said:“The sentence Thorn received shows just how appalled and fed up society is with those in privileged positions, abusing those privileges for their own selfish gain.
“It would be a huge injustice to the vast majority of officers and staff at Wiltshire Police who carry out their roles with integrity to suggest that his behaviour was representative of the wider Force, but it would be wholly misguided to suggest that this former officer is a lone ‘bad apple’.
“Cases like this chip away at public confidence and I continue to work with the Chief Constable to eradicate any trace of corruption and misconduct within Wiltshire Police to ensure that we do not end up in a place where that public trust cannot be rebuilt.
“There is no place in policing for those who abuse their position for personal gain.”