Suspended officer sentenced to more than 18 years in prison
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A suspended officer from Hertfordshire Constabulary has been sentenced to more than 18 years in prison at Cambridge Crown Court today (Friday) after being convicted earlier in the week of multiple child abuse offences and perverting the course of public justice.
James Ford, aged 31, had pleaded not guilty to 11 counts which included the rape of a child under 13 and perverting the cause of justice by deliberately wiping his mobile phone. When the allegations came to light an independent investigation was launched by specialist officers based with the Child Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (CAISU) at Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
The matter was also referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the force’s Professional Standards Department. Now the case has been heard, the conduct proceedings will now be expedited.
Originally based as a uniformed response officer in East Herts, Ford has been suspended since November last year (2021). He joined the force in December 2019.
The court heard how the charges relate to one victim who cannot be identified and who has been given full support by trained officers also from Cambridgeshire. They occurred over a period of 21 months and came to light when the victim made disclosures to her father.
Ford has been jailed for a total of 18 years and three months and must serve a minimum of two thirds of his sentence behind bars. He will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life. The Judge also put a Sexual Harm Prevention Order in place, along with a restraining order to protect the victim.
Detective Constable Mark Williamson, who is based within CAISU and is the officer in the case said: “Ford is a despicable character who showed no remorse for his actions and invented ridiculous stories to defend his position.
“It is a credit to the victim that the jury saw beyond his lies. I hope the sentence today gives a sense of justice to the victim and their family.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Genna Telfer added: “James Ford has committed the most appalling crime and his sentence today reflects the gravity of them. His behaviour has been cowardly and disgusting and I am glad he will be spending many years in prison where he poses no further risk.”
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.