Serving Met police officer sentenced following conviction for online grooming offences
Main article content
A serving Metropolitan police officer has today (Wednesday 27 April) been sentenced to five and a half years in prison having been convicted of online child grooming offences and police corruption.
Detective Constable Francois Olwage, aged 52, from Stevenage, was arrested on October 29, 2021 and remanded into custody. At an earlier court hearing he had pleaded not guilty to:
Attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child
Attempting to cause/incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity
Meeting a girl under 16 years of age following grooming
At the start of the trial at Winchester Crown Court on Monday 11 April he pleaded guilty to a count of corruption or other improper exercise of police powers and privileges, and on Thursday 14 April he was found guilty by a jury of the other counts (above).
As well as being handed a five and a half year sentence, he will have to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and was issued with a sexual harm prevention order.
The court heard how Olwage, who has been a police officer for 15 years, used a chat room service to engage with an online profile of who he believed was a 13-year-old girl, but was an undercover officer. Over the course of nearly two weeks the pair exchanged views and ideas and the tone of the conversation became increasingly sexualised. Eventually Olwage arranged to meet the young girl in her hometown of Basingstoke, where he was then arrested.
The offences date between the 15 and 28 of October 2021.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Dalton of the Vulnerable Children’s Unit, which is based within Hertfordshire’s Safeguarding Command said: “It is shocking that a serving police officer has committed these appalling crimes. However, the reason he was caught is because of the tenacity and determination of other police officers who work daily to protect the public and keep people safe. No favouritism was shown to him for being a police officer as the investigation and court process showed.
“I thank my team of exemplary detectives for the professionalism they have shown. “Investigating those who seek to harm children is incredibly difficult and the results they achieve make me exceptionally proud.”
The team in Hertfordshire were assisted by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) who supported the investigation.
Anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence can contact the Herts Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for practical and emotional support. The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals, and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them.