A FORMER Police officer who was reported by colleagues for sending inappropriate messages to a colleague and a vulnerable victim of crime committed gross misconduct according to a panel.

Former Police Constable Matthew Langford had breached the standards of professional behaviour in four categories and the panel decided he would have been dismissed if he had not previously resigned in May last year.

Langford, who was based at Clacton at the time of the incidents, will be included on the College of Policing Barred List, which prevents him from returning to the police service or joining other policing bodies.

The misconduct panel was led by independent legally qualified chair John Bassett and held at the Civic Centre in Duke Street, Chelmsford, on June 28.

The matters came to light after colleagues raised concerns about his behaviour.

He was reported to have sent inappropriate and unsolicited messages between 2014 and 2015 to a young woman who asked for advice on becoming a Special Constable, which continued after she joined the service.

He was also reported to have access police records in order to send personal and inappropriate messages to a vulnerable victim of crime in 2017.

The matter was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which carried out an independent investigation.

The panel also heard that Langford received management action following a misconduct meeting for similar inappropriate behaviour towards a vulnerable young woman in 2009.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “Every day, our officers and staff uphold the standards of professional behaviour we must all abide as set out in the Code of Ethics for policing.

“Regrettably, there are rare occasions when some individuals abuse their authority for sexual gain and this case has demonstrated that we will take robust action to deal with this.

“Protecting the public, and especially vulnerable people, will always be our top priority and there is no place in Essex Police for individuals whose actions go against that.”