Police officer jailed after forming inappropriate relationship with vulnerable woman

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A former police officer who engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable woman he met during his duties has been jailed for five months.

Ex-West Midlands Police PC James Ankrett, who was charged following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), admitted improper exercise of police powers and privileges when he appeared before Wolverhampton Crown Court last month.

In a statement issued after he was sentenced on 18 October, the IOPC said the officer 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 Ankrett had subsequently sent the woman inappropriate messages and pictures of himself undressed whilst on and off duty.

Crown court stock
Wolverhampton Crown Court: where James Ankrett was jailed (Rui Vieira/PA)

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

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

West Midlands Police chief constable 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.”

Not just one bad apple

Ankrett’s case follows the conviction of former police office Wayne Couzens for murdering Sarah Everard. Meanwhile, figures show that there were more than 800 allegations of domestic abuse against police officers and staff over a five year period. Only 5% of cases were prosecuted. And at least 750 allegations of sexual assault were made against serving police officers between 2015 and 2020.

Sisters Uncut has launched Copwatch training following Couzen’s conviction. As the group previously told The Canary:

This training is vital right now because the government is planning to increase police powers. As we saw in the case of Sarah Everard (Wayne Couzens arrested Sarah using new COVID regulations), increased police powers mean increased, unaccountable police violence.

If passed, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will make all marginalised communities – Gypsy, Roma and Travellers, sex workers, Black and brown people, women and anyone protesting – less safe.

Every stop and search must be treated as a kidnapping, which in turn could become another death in custody.

We must resist together. The police are the perpetrators and we must keep each other safe. Sisters Uncut is holding training sessions on police intervention, and the launch of a nationwide network of CopWatch patrols.

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