Police community support officer jailed over sex acts with schoolgirl
A police community support officer who engaged in sex acts with a schoolgirl after meeting her while on duty has been jailed for five years.
Daniel Childs, who exchanged mobile phone numbers with the 15-year-old after attending a charity event, was convicted of committing two offences by a jury in July.
The married officer, who has since been sacked, was found guilty of engaging in sexual activity with the "impressionable" pupil but cleared of allegations involving other girls.
Jurors were told Childs, who joined Nottinghamshire Police in 2007, committed the offences eight years ago after encouraging the victim to "skive off" and meet him while he was off duty.
Passing sentence at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Simon Hammond said the 30-year-old was aware that his victim was under-age and warned her not to inform his force.
The judge said: "The law is there to protect impressionable young girls from sexual predators.
"This defendant was a community support officer - his job was to enforce the law, not to take advantage of an under-age girl."
Judge Hammond, who accepted the girl's assertion that the sexual activity took place with her consent, said he had to bear in mind the potential damage of such offences to public confidence in the police.
Ordering Childs to register as a sex offender indefinitely, the judge described the offences as a gross breach of trust against the public and the officer's colleagues.
Childs, based in Ollerton, was suspended from duty in 2013 and charged last year over allegations relating to his conduct over a seven-year period.
His barrister submitted that the court could properly suspend any jail term due to a range of factors, including the complainant's belief that her life had not been "blighted" by what happened.
Defence counsel Alisdair Williamson told the court that Childs's wife, who is pregnant, was standing by him.
"His selfish and criminal acts have had effects far beyond that which he could have conceived and he must live with that every day," the lawyer said.
Temporary Detective Superintendent Paul Murphy, of Nottinghamshire Police's Professional Standards Directorate, said: "Cases of this nature are rare and risk damaging the trust and confidence of our communities.
"The public deserve high standards from the police, while Childs failed to display any standard of decent behaviour in his conduct.
"With thoughts for the victim, I acknowledge the court's strong sentence and trust it contributes to a sense of justice for the victim and their family."