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A serving British Transport Police (BTP) officer has been dismissed without notice, following an accelerated misconduct hearing.
PS James Chatfield, based in London, answered allegations that he breached the standards of professional behaviour at a hearing held at Force Headquarters on Monday 9 January.
On 23 and 26 September 2022 James began conversations online with a person he believed was a 12-year old girl, whilst he was posing as a 17-year-old boy.
In their conversations, PS Chatfield:
The person he was talking to was actually an undercover police officer from South Wales Police who reported the incidents to our Professional Standards Department (PSD). PS Chatfield was then swiftly arrested and interviewed by our detectives.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 18 November, and on 14 December a judge at Inner London Crown Court sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months and handed him a seven-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Following the conclusion of the criminal investigation, proceedings were initiated to hold an accelerated misconduct hearing at the earliest opportunity.
The Chief Constable found that PS Chatfield’s actions amounted to gross misconduct, and he has been dismissed from the force with immediate effect.
Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi said: “He was trusted to uphold the law and to protect the public, especially the most vulnerable. His actions are disgraceful and entirely inconsistent with our values.
“My decision to dismiss James Chatfield with immediate effect reflects the seriousness with which we view predatory behaviour, specifically sexual misconduct. There is no place in BTP for people like him.”