Derbyshire Police officer convicted of misconduct in public office
A Derbyshire Constabulary officer has been convicted of misconduct in public office after he and a colleague engaged in sexual activity in a police vehicle with a woman they had come into contact with moments earlier, following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) directed investigation.
At the end of a four-day trial at Southwark Crown Court, Police Constable Matthew Longmate, 47, was found guilty today (Wednesday) of one charge of misconduct in public office.
Our directed investigation, carried out by Derbyshire Constabulary’s Counter Corruption Unit, established that, on 4 October 2015 the 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.
We received a referral from Derbyshire Constabulary in November 2021, when the matter came to light during an investigation into PC Longmate’s colleague.
As part of the investigation, which began in November 2021, witness statements were taken, PC Longmate’s personal phone was seized and its contents downloaded and examined. The officer was also arrested and interviewed twice.
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 15 January 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.