Former South Wales Police officer dismissed

Former South Wales Police officer dismissed

A former South Wales Police officer engaged in inappropriate online conversations with someone he thought was a child.

In fact, the person he was talking to was an undercover Tarian police officer and former PC Anthony French was arrested.

A file of evidence was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service which decided not to pursue any criminal charges.

The joint investigation between Tarian and the South Wales Police Anti-Corruption Unit resulted in the officer facing an accelerated misconduct hearing chaired by Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan.

PC French resigned before the hearing which considered allegations that he breached the following standards of professional behaviour:

Standard 1: Honesty and Integrity

Police Officers are honest, act with integrity and do not compromise or abuse their position.

Standard 9: Discreditable Conduct.

Police Officers behave in a manner which does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence in it, whether on or off duty. Police officers report any action taken against them for a criminal offence, any conditions imposed upon them by a court or receipt of any penalty notice.

It was alleged that in April 2023 he engaged in an inappropriate online conversation with a person he thought was a child whilst at the same time accessed a pornographic website, and in July 2023 attempted to mislead investigating officers to avoid prosecution.

The allegations were found proven as gross misconduct and the hearing delivered the sanction of dismissal if the officer was still serving.

Delivering his judgement, Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said: 

“Whilst the CPS considered that this did not meet a criminal threshold, it both met and significantly exceeded my threshold when setting the standards of behaviour within South Wales Police. 

“It is only by chance that former PC French actually engaged with an undercover police officer online. The Anti-Corruption Unit’s response was swift and deliberate.”

Chief Superintendent Mark Lenihan, head of professional standards, said:“The former officer should have known through the extensive training with South Wales Police that such conversations and interaction with 14-year-old children is illegal and wholly inappropriate. At the very least, he had an obligation to safeguard and report such vulnerable children but he chose not to.

“During interview, he clearly lied to officers in an attempt to mislead the investigating officers and to avoid prosecution.

“South Wales Police expects its officers to act with honesty and integrity and not indulge in conduct which is discreditable and which undermines public confidence in the police service whether on or off duty.

“His behaviour fell well short of those standards and as a result has lost his career in the police service.”

Anthony French will be submitted to the College of Policing barred list to ensure he cannot return to policing.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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