A current police officer and a former colleague were found guilty of having sex with women they met while performing their jobs.
Both West Midlands Police (WMP) officers Anthony Ritchie and Steven Darren Walters had sex encounters with a total of three women, some of whom they met while responding to domestic violence situations.
Ritchie, 46, started a sexual relationship with one lady after arresting her partner, and another after attempting to arrest the woman’s kid.
While responding to domestic violence complaints in 2013, Walters, 55, began oral sex with two women, one of whom afterwards had a sexual relationship with Ritchie, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) reported on Monday.
Derrick Campbell, IOPC regional director, said: “Abuse of power for sexual gain is a breach of the public’s trust, which seriously undermines confidence in the police service and discredits the profession.
“The actions of Pc Ritchie and ex-Pc Walters were quite rightly described as predatory during the trial and an aggravating feature is that they consistently targeted women who were in vulnerable situations and looking to the police for help.
“Both officers have behaved disgracefully and in Pc Ritchie’s case our investigations established that while he was having a relationship with two women at the same time after meeting them through work, he was also going through a disciplinary procedure for inappropriate text messages sent to another woman he met while on duty.”
According to the watchdog, Ritchie first started dating a woman in 2014 who had reported experiencing domestic violence.
After Ritchie detained the woman’s partner, it was discovered that the two had made contact on his personal phone and engaged in sexual activity.
When Walters responded to a report about domestic abuse the previous year, the woman said he forced her into oral s3x.
In 2018, when other officers went to the same woman’s house for an unrelated issue, she told them things that led to the IOPC probe.
A second lady claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Ritchie in 2014 in May 2021.
After visiting the woman’s home to arrest her son, Ritchie asked her out on a date, engaged in sexual activity with her while she was working, and convinced her to tell superior officers a story about how they met when the woman’s son objected.
Then, in November 2021, a third woman claimed that Walters had started oral s£x while she was present for a domestic violence episode at the residence of her spouse in 2013.
At Birmingham Crown Court, both men were convicted guilty on both counts of misconduct in a public office.
The 12-day trial heard testimony that Walters was imprisoned for sexually assaulting two different women in 2015 while performing his job duties and was fired by WMP in 2016 as a result of an IOPC inquiry.
Judge Roderick Henderson informed the pair on Monday that they should anticipate being imprisoned when they are sentenced on September 21.
WMP announced that Pc. Ritchie would face an expedited misconduct hearing after the convictions.
Deputy Chief Constable Scott Green said: “The behaviour and actions of PC Anthony Ritchie and ex-PC Steven Walters is deplorable and they have quite rightly been found guilty of misconduct in a public office.
“The public has a right to expect the highest standard of professionalism from our staff and those who need our help at times when they are most vulnerable should be able to put their trust and faith in our officers.
“I applaud the bravery and tenacity of the women who came forward so that these men could be brought to justice.
“We are determined to ensure that predatory individuals are not only rooted out of policing, but that vetting and standards are strengthened to ensure they cannot join the police in the first place.”
“Every day the majority of officers and staff perform their duties with the utmost professionalism to protect the public and we will not let the actions of a few tarnish the reputation of the majority.”