Police officer convicted after offering drunk woman lift home before having sex with her in patrol car in Chesterfield
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At the end of a four-day trial at Southwark Crown Court, Police Constable Matthew Longmate, 47, was found guilty of misconduct in public office.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) directed investigation, carried out by Derbyshire Constabulary’s Counter Corruption Unit, established that on October 4, 2015 two officers were on a night-time patrol in Chesterfield when they came across the woman who had been drinking and had been ordered to leave a nightclub. They offered the woman a lift home. It was whilst in the police vehicle that the sexual activity with PC Longmate and his colleague took place.
The IOPC received a referral from Derbyshire Constabulary in November 2021, when the matter came to light during an investigation into PC Longmate’s colleague.
IOPC Director of Major Investigations Steve Noonan said: “PC Longmate targeted a lone woman who was in a vulnerable position in a town centre late at night. She should have felt safe in this situation but instead he and his colleague abused their position as police officers in a way that is a complete betrayal of the public trust placed in them.
“Police officers who abuse their power for sexual gain not only discredit their profession but breach the public’s trust and seriously undermines confidence in the police service.
“I recognise how difficult it must have been for the woman in this case to come forward and I want to thank her for providing evidence to the investigation and helping to ensure that PC Longmate has been held accountable.” PC Longmate will be sentenced on January 15, 2024.
Derbyshire Constabulary has agreed that PC Longmate also has a case to answer for gross misconduct for potentially breaching police standards of professional behaviour. It will now be for the force to take forward disciplinary proceedings.
In May 2022, at the end of the investigation, the IOPC decided the matter should be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised the charge of misconduct in public office.
The charge was joined with one faced by his colleague, former PC Daniel Nash, who pleaded guilty to 14 counts of misconduct in public office in total. In August 2023, due to exceptional circumstances, he received a two-year suspended sentence and sadly died in September this year. The outcome of those proceedings could not be reported until the conclusion of PC Longmate’s trial.
Commenting on former officer Nash, Deputy Chief Constable Simon Blatchly said: “As members of the police service, we promise to protect our communities – in particular those who may be vulnerable to harm.
“But instead of protecting them, Daniel Nash sought them out, and abused his position for his own sexual gain.
“There is no place in policing for his kind and I, along with my colleagues, have been sickened to learn of his crimes.
“When a report was first received relating to a complaint about Nash’s alleged conduct he was suspended from duty. He was then arrested, and an investigation took place.
“During that investigation an initial victim led officers to 14 women in total that Nash had met through his work as a police officer.
“A number of these were victims of crimes such as domestic abuse – others had been perpetrators of crimes. All were vulnerable through various personal circumstances.
“The investigation into Nash’s offending was directed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
“This investigation not only looked at Nash but the wider policing unit in which he was serving.
“There was no evidence found that any of his colleagues, other than one other officer, knew, or suspected, of his offending.
“The sentence that Nash received is a matter for the court, however, it is clear that had he not been in such serious ill health that he would have served a significant term in prison.
“The crimes that Nash committed are among the most serious that can be imagined and, taken in the context of other recent incidents across the wider policing family, I understand the concern that this will cause.
“But I want to be clear – if you know of any officer or staff member who is behaving in a manner that does not fit their role as a member of Derbyshire Constabulary, then I would urge you to contact the force, or, contact the independent charity CrimeStoppers, who can take anonymous reports in order for them to be investigated.
“Someone like Nash has no place in policing and I, along with the staff and officers who are so appalled by his crimes, will do everything possible to find and remove anyone similar.
Turning to Longmate, DCC Blatchly said: “Matthew Longmate has been found guilty of a truly horrendous crime.
“As a serving police officer he took an oath to uphold the laws of this country – and protect our communities from harm.
“In particular, officers and staff, have a particular duty to protect those who are most vulnerable.
“Longmate not only failed to protect, but actively sought to abuse his position while on patrol.
“From the evidence that was found this appears to have been a single incident and he committed his offence in collusion with former PC Daniel Nash.
“Longmate has no place in policing and, following, his guilty verdict an accelerated hearing will take place to remove him from the force.
“I am deeply shocked and angered by his actions, as I know officers and staff are across the force.
“However, I want to be clear that the independent investigation into this matter by the Independent Office for Police Conduct found no wider knowledge or offending by any other officer or staff member.
“If you know of any officer or staff member who is behaving in a manner that does not fit their role as a member of Derbyshire Constabulary, then I would urge you to contact the force, or, contact the independent charity CrimeStoppers, who can take anonymous reports in order for them to be investigated.”