Former Northamptonshire Police staff member jailed for child sexual offences
A former Northamptonshire Police support staff member has been given a two-year jail sentence for child sexual offences following an investigation directed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Alex Foster, aged 42, was also made subject to a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order when he was was sentenced today (Thursday 17 November) at Lincoln Crown Court. He had pleaded guilty to three offences at a hearing in September when he was remanded in custody. Mr Foster had earlier been suspended from his role at the force.
The offences, which took place between July and August this year, are:
- attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981
- intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, contrary to section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007
- arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, contrary to section 14(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
An investigation was conducted by the Northamptonshire Police Counter Corruption Unit under the IOPC’s direction after we received a mandatory conduct referral from the force. On conclusion of the investigation, we decided the matter should be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised the charges.
Mr Foster was arrested by Northamptonshire Police officers on 10 August at a location where he had arranged to meet a person he had engaged in sexual communication with, who he believed to be a girl under 16. Mr Foster had in fact been communicating with an account set up by an undercover police officer, posing as a 15-year-old girl.
IOPC Director of Major Investigations, Steve Noonan said: “Mr Foster’s actions were abhorrent in sexually communicating online with a person he believed to be a child and then arranging and travelling to meet them for sexual purposes. He has rightly received a prison sentence for his appalling behaviour. We directed the investigation by Northamptonshire Police’s counter-corruption unit and I am grateful to their officers for their professionalism in helping to bring this offender to justice.”
At the end of the IOPC directed investigation we concluded that Mr Foster had a case to answer for gross misconduct. He resigned the day before a gross misconduct hearing arranged by Northamptonshire Police on 31 October when a panel determined that had he still been a member of staff, he would have been dismissed. He will also be added to the College of Policing barred list preventing future employment with the police service.