I was groomed by a Met Police Officer after going to them for help

The first time I ever stepped inside a police station, I had no idea what to expect. At that point, I had never reported a crime and had no idea how the process worked. I soon found out that it wasn’t as straightforward as I expected.

And little did I know that I would soon be swapping one abuser for another.

I went to the Metropolitan Police for help as I had been suffering a tirade of abuse from an ex-partner over a period of months. I was receiving the most disgusting text messages I had ever seen, being plagued with threatening phone calls and having upsetting parcels sent to my house. 

Things had gotten so bad that I was having night terrors and had developed PTSD. I lived my life in constant fear – I never felt safe, not even within my own four walls. My abuser even started reporting me for fake crimes that I hadn’t committed – it was relentless. My friends and family have since told me that they weren’t sure I’d survive this period in time. 

Although I never attempted to take my own life, I did get to the point where I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Each morning I’d wake and – for a split second – I’d forget how bad things were, before I’d realise that the world was still the same place it had been the day before. And it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be. 

Over the course of several months, I reported the ongoing abuse to the police but it was almost impossible to get anything done about it. 

Then, my abuser reported me for another made up crime. The police called me to let me know that, this time, it was for harassment. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I lost my temper with them. All I wanted was to be left in peace to live my life, and it was starting to feel like it would never happen. 

Within half an hour, I had two police officers knocking at my door. 

I do think there was an understanding that things would progress to a sexual relationship – but I was just so pleased to have a police officer on my side

This visit angered me – they hadn’t helped me at all through this whole process. Then as soon as they thought that something they had said could be putting me at risk, they were straight round to my house. It felt like they were covering their backs.

They were there when I hadn’t asked – yet when I was the victim of a crime, they did nothing.  

However, throughout the visit, one of the police officers, a man in his early 50s – I’ll call him PC X – was very helpful and understanding. I felt as though someone was finally listening to me, and actually cared what I was going through. When they left my house, he wrapped me in a big hug and gave me his personal number.

He said that I could call him ‘any time, day or night’ and that he would be there for me. He suggested we could go for a coffee sometime. 

It might sound silly now but at that point in time, it didn’t feel inappropriate. I was desperate and just felt so glad that someone was finally going to help me.

To me, he seemed like an incredible police officer, particularly because – up until that point – my experiences with other officers had been awful. One of them wouldn’t take my case seriously as I lived in a ‘big, fancy house’, while ‘most domestic abuse victims live in hostels’. Another made a comment along the lines of ‘hell having no fury like a woman scorned’, suggesting I was in some way to blame for what was going on. 

So this attention from PC X felt kind and supportive. If only I knew then what I know now…

About a week after this visit, I messaged him and asked whether he was serious about helping me. From that point onwards, over a period of a few months, we exchanged lots of messages and lots of phone calls. Lots.

It’s important to stress here that I was in a seriously bad way at this point – often, I didn’t know what day of the week it was, I’d forget my own name, and I think he took advantage of that.

The nature of the way PC X would talk to me did change and he got more and more inappropriate as time went on. I do think there was an understanding that things would progress to a sexual relationship – but I was just so pleased to have a police officer on my side. It sounds awful but I think, at that point, I needed help so badly that I would have done anything to get it. 

If anything ever happened, I would phone PC X. One time, I called him and I was freaking out about a nasty phone call I‘d received. He reassured me but he then went on to say that I should have no other contact with any police officers other than him. He also said that I should keep my distance from my friends and family, and that he was the only one I could trust to confide in.

Luckily, I mentioned this to my friends and family and they got angry. They reassured me that definitely wasn’t the case and I’m thankful that I had that reality check – it might have saved me. However, I did continue to go to him first. Of course I thought I could trust him, he was a police officer.

Quite often, if something happened, I would send him a crime report to his work email. I later found out that he wasn’t logging any of these in the crime log. I had no idea – I was just delighted to have someone so responsive. I had been used to not hearing back from anyone for weeks after I had logged a crime, but he was calling me back within minutes, despite not actually doing anything. He was just using it as a reason to further contact me.

I now feel sure that he was grooming me, hoping to become my sole support network and isolate me from my friends and family. His intention was for me to repay the ‘help’ he was offering me with a sexual relationship. 

Looking back, I can see it as very coercive and predatory behaviour – but at the time, I was vulnerable and I liked having him on my side. He even offered to send people round to ‘rough up’ the person who had been terrorising me. I never took him up on it.

By this point, we were messaging and talking all the time – and there was a lot of innuendo – but to me, he was still only a police officer. As it turns out, he was a police officer abusing his position of trust. 

During this period of time, I was listed by the Met as a vulnerable person because of everything that I’d been through, and my poor mental health at the time. PC X would have known that from the day he turned up on my doorstep – and he was using it to his advantage. 

To cement the fact that he had chosen me to prey on because of my situation, I later found out that I wasn’t the only vulnerable woman he had been having an inappropriate relationship with. 

Things gradually started to come out when he suddenly stopped replying to my messages. Unable to get hold of PC X, I decided to make a complaint as I was getting nowhere with reporting my abuser, who was continuing to make my life a misery: turning up at my house, threatening me, spreading lies. In response to my complaint, a police officer came round to see me.

That officer changed everything for me.

She listed it as a proper crime, went back to the many things I had reported to PC X, that had never been logged. During the course of the conversation, I happened to mention that PC X would often call me from his mobile. At that point, I saw the colour draining out of her face – she asked whether he called me from his personal mobile? I said: ‘Of course he does, he’s helping me.’ 

Next thing I knew, Professional Standards were calling me. 

It later turned out that there was another woman who had a similar experience. She had ended up attempting to take her own life because of his controlling and coercive behaviour towards her. I found out that this incident happened at the same time that PC X had stopped calling me, but I had no idea at the time. They had started a sexual relationship, so it had gone further than it did with me – but I have no doubt that I would have been headed the same way as her. 

After our conversation, I stood in my shower and scrubbed myself because I felt so dirty after talking to him

After my initial contact with Professional Standards, I heard nothing from PC X for around a year and a half. Then, out of the blue, my phone rang and it was him. He picked up where things had left off, despite us having no contact whatsoever. 

This call terrified me. It had been 18 months and he knew everything about me. He was listing off things like where I worked, where I’d been going, what I’d been wearing, and what police officers I’d been dealing with since he hadn’t been around. He was also saying sexual things that were making me feel very uncomfortable. After our conversation, I stood in my shower and scrubbed myself because I felt so dirty after talking to him. 

What he didn’t realise was that, after 18 months, I was no longer vulnerable. My previous harasser had finally left me alone, I was back at work and starting to get my life back on track. PC X was talking to a very different person and I could see straight through him this time. 

I reported him the next day – but he continued to call, and the calls got more and more inappropriate and sexual in nature. It turned out that he had been on restricted duties for the whole period I hadn’t heard from him. And, as he had resigned the day before he called me again, the police said there wasn’t much they could do about it. Trying to get them to take my complaints seriously has been one of the most emotionally draining experiences of my life.

The information he had on me must have been gathered while he was still part of the police force – I don’t understand why this wasn’t taken more seriously. If we can’t trust the police to look after us, who can we trust? 

He has since been found guilty of gross misconduct for his behaviour with the other woman, and he no longer works for the police – but I don’t think that enough has been done. 

For a long time, I hated myself for what had happened and felt like it was my fault. I often questioned what it was about me that made men feel as though they could treat me like this? Now though, I’m strong again, I’ve restarted my life, I’m back in my dream job, and everything is finally OK again. 

Do I still live in fear? I do. Am I convinced that there are other victims? Yes. Do I worry that this man could strike again? Absolutely. Have the police done enough? Definitely not.

But if telling my story can stop someone else falling prey to a police officer abusing their position of power, then that’s something positive to come out of the whole nightmare situation.

Statement from The Metropolitan Police:

‘Former “PC X” resigned from the Met in July 2019.

‘At that time he was subject to disciplinary proceedings. A hearing held at a later date found that had he still been a Met officer, he would have been dismissed.

‘There is an ongoing investigation into former “PC X” following receipt of a complaint from a member of the public, made after he had resigned. While this is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment any further.’

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