Yorkshire police officer sacked for failing to investigate suspected rape of schoolgirl

The police officer was sacked for gross misconduct.
The police officer was sacked for gross misconduct.

A Yorkshire Police officer has been dismissed without notice after he failed to investigate the suspected rape of a schoolgirl, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.

PC Mark Beardsley, from West Yorkshire Police was sacked from the force following a misconduct hearing earlier this month, which was held in private due to the nature of the allegations.

The hearing heard how PC Beardsley, who worked as a Safer Schools Officer, was told by a high school staff member that a child under 13 had been having sexual intercourse.

As a matter of law, such behaviour would amount in any event to the offence of rape of a child under 13 and would give rise to a significant safeguarding risk.

In a statement on its website, West Yorkshire Police said: "Even though PC Beardsley had been made aware of this information he responded inappropriately; he failed to record the matters disclosed as a crime;failed to initiate an investigation into suspected offences; and failed to make any referrals, record intelligence or take similar action for safeguarding purposes.

The misconduct panel were told how PC Beardsley discussed the matters further with the child and staff member in a second meeting at the school that took place a week later.

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West Yorkshire Police said that following the second meeting the PC knew or should have known that the child was a potential victim of child sexual exploitation and was at "significant risk of harm" and therefore he should have recorded the disclosures as a crime; initiated an investigation and recorded intelligence or referred the matter on for safeguarding purposes.

Following further evidence gathered in an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), gross misconduct was proven against PC Beardsley and he was sacked immediately from the force.

Following the hearing, West Yorkshire Police said safeguarding of children is a key priority for the force.

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Detective Superintendent Richard Crinnion of West Yorkshire Police Professional Standards Directorate, said: “Safeguarding children and investigating serious sexual offending involving children remains a key priority for West Yorkshire Police, and the force is dedicated to doing all it can to protect young people.

“In this case Mark Beardsley was made aware of a serious safeguarding risk to a child at a school he worked at, but failed to either record or investigate the information he received, completely failing to safeguard a victim at risk of very serious harm.

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“This was a very serious breach of our Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to Duties and Responsibilities and utterly at odds with the standards of care and professionalism we rightly expect of our officers.

“As a result the officer attended Misconduct Hearing where the decision of the independent legally qualified chair was to dismiss without notice.”