Former Northamptonshire Police officer sentenced following IOPC directed investigation

Published: 30 Jun 2022

A former Northamptonshire Police officer has been sentenced to seven months in prison for misconduct in public office, following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) directed investigation.

The sentence was imposed on Oliver Binns, 25, at Northampton Crown Court this week (29 June) after he had pleaded guilty at a hearing in May.

We received a mandatory referral from Northamptonshire Police in January 2021 concerning PC Binns’ conduct. The probationary officer, who has since resigned from the force, was alleged to have made inappropriate contact with a vulnerable woman following her release from police custody in 2020.

The investigation, conducted by the Northamptonshire Police Counter Corruption Unit under IOPC direction, found PC Binns had contacted the woman the day after being involved in her arrest in September 2020. An assessment of phone data found he sent a number of flirtatious and sexually explicit messages and pictures to the woman via Snapchat and continued to do so under different accounts despite being blocked by her. During his interview with investigators, he admitted to also searching for the woman on Facebook and Instagram. Investigators also found that PC Binns had tried to keep his messages with the woman a secret by asking her to keep things “between us” and asking the texts were sent “no further”.

At the end of the investigation, we decided the matter should be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service which authorised a charge of corrupt/improper exercise of police powers and privileges by a constable contrary to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. This was later amended to a charge of misconduct in public office. We also concluded that the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct for the messages sent and for accessing force systems without policing purpose.

IOPC Director of Major Investigations, Steve Noonan said: “Police officers are held to certain standards when it comes to their interactions with members of the public and they are expected to conduct themselves professionally.

“The abuse of police powers for sexual purpose is a form of serious corruption. It has a devastating impact on victims, and a serious impact on the public’s confidence in individual officers and the service in general.

“The directed investigation concluded the officer in this case abused his position and actively pursued an inappropriate and sexual relationship with a vulnerable woman who he had assisted in arresting only a day earlier.

“We hope this sentence acts as a deterrent to any officer who looks to put their own sexual gain ahead of the welfare of a member of a public.”

  • Northamptonshire Police