Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Former TVP officer jailed for pursuing women for sex
A former Thames Valley Police (TVP) officer has been jailed for three years and six months for pursuing multiple women for sex after meeting them during the course of his duties.
The sentencing of ex-Police Constable (PC) Oliver Perry-Smith, who was based at Newbury Police Station, follows our investigation.
He appeared at Reading Crown Court recently (Friday 29 April) after previously pleading guilty to three charges of misconduct in public office, and two charges of unauthorised access to computer material, contrary to the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
He denied a fourth charge of misconduct in public office by engaging in sexual activity with a female person he had met in the course of his duties. The Crown did not offer any evidence for this charge.
The court heard that between September 2014 and November 2019, the former officer pursued six women he met through his duties. He had sexual contact with three and sought to establish sexual contact with the others. He also looked up the details of one of those women and a seventh woman on police computer systems, for no policing purpose. He continued his behaviour even after receiving specific training in 2018 in relation to abuse of position for a sexual purpose.
The women were in vulnerable positions at the time either because they were subject to a police complaint requiring investigation or else were victims, witnesses or acting as appropriate adults for young victims of crime.
Perry-Smith’s actions came to light in November 2019 when a woman called police about an incident involving her friend. The woman mentioned that Perry-Smith had previously attended the home of her friend and had since sent her an indecent image by text. Our enquiries found subsequently that he had also looked up details for her and her family on the police computer system.
On another occasion Perry-Smith used a police computer to identify a woman via her car registration after parking next to her and watching her go into a shop. That evening, he called at her home without a policing purpose and made personal comments about her appearance, despite knowing she was alone with a young child. The woman became suspicious of his motives for attending after recognising him as the same officer who had stared at her earlier. She also noticed his radio was off and he was not wearing shoulder badges. This caused her to fear for her safety and question whether he was actually a police officer. She subsequently made a complaint to the IOPC.
IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley recently said:
“I pay tribute to the courage of all the women who came forward to assist our investigation, which ensured we were able to present both Thames Valley Police and the Crown Prosecution Service with a comprehensive file of evidence for their respective consideration of misconduct sanctions and criminal offences.
“Perry-Smith was a sexual predator and his conduct caused significant distress to the women involved. He was prolific in the abuse of his position over a five-year period and his acts were intentional, deliberate, targeted and planned. His actions were often at the expense of his formal policing duties.
“Many people come into contact with the police when they are at a particularly difficult or distressing point in their lives, and they are entitled to be treated professionally. Officers must not, under any circumstances, use their professional position to initiate or pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a vulnerable person.
“Perry-Smith’s actions have seriously undermined the good work of the large majority of police officers who professionally serve the public on a daily basis.
“The IOPC’s role is to provide robust independent oversight of the police on behalf of the public. Following our criminal investigation Perry-Smith has admitted guilt and is now facing the full consequences of his actions.”
In addition to the matters heard at court, the IOPC found further evidence of him pursuing an additional seven women for sex after meeting them during the course of his duties. We found evidence his inappropriate sexual behaviour started as early as 2010, when he had sex with a junior colleague in a police car while on duty, a year after he had joined the police service with TVP.
Phone analysis showed he sent hundreds of text messages to women while on duty, some of a sexual nature and asking for them to send him intimate images of themselves. He propositioned women for sex in their homes while their children were there, often turning up unannounced during the evening.
Some of the women we spoke to felt they could trust Perry-Smith because he was a police officer and would not have given the same trust to anyone else in the same circumstances.
We also found evidence indicating he had no policing purpose for transferring the names and contact numbers of ten women to his personal phone.
Our seven-month investigation, which began in November 2019, concluded that the officer also had a case to answer for gross misconduct.
He resigned from the force on 8 February 2022 and faced an accelerated misconduct hearing the following day, led by TVP Chief Constable John Campbell.
Gross misconduct was found proven for breaching police standards of professional behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy; duties and responsibilities; honesty and integrity; and discreditable conduct. It was determined that he would have been dismissed with immediate effect had he not already resigned from the force. He will also be placed on the barred list preventing future employment within the police service.
During our investigation we searched former PC Perry-Smith’s home and seized his laptop and other electronic devices. Interviews and statements were taken from women with whom the officer had or attempted to have inappropriate relationships, and from police witnesses.
*We have published a summary of the investigation on our website
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