Police staff member jailed for two years for child grooming offences
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A former police safety training instructor has been jailed for two years after pleading guilty to child sex offences.
Alex Foster’s conviction followed an operation by Northamptonshire Police’s Counter-Corruption team under the direction of the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Foster was jailed for two years for attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981.
In addition, he was also handed concurrent six-month sentences for intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, contrary to section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2003 and arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, contrary to section 14(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Foster, aged 43, had been in the role since 2013 and had also served in the Special Constabulary, rising to the post of Inspector before resigning in 2021.
Lincoln Crown Court was told Foster had been engaging in highly sexual online conversations and exchanges of images with someone, he believed, was a 15-year-old girl but was in fact an undercover officer.
The dialogue began on July 27 this year and culminated in Foster being arrested by awaiting officers in the car park of a KFC takeaway in Newark on August 10 where his mobile phone was seized.
Foster admitted all three offences at a hearing in September and was sentenced yesterday (Thursday, November 17).
Sentencing him, Recorder James House KC told the defendant that he was in a position of trust due to his role and his offences were bound to have an impact on public perception.
He added: “You knew perfectly well that communicating with a 15-year-old girl was not only wrong but unlawful.”
Foster was also handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and placed on the Sex Offenders’ register.
Speaking after sentence, DI Kim Jackson, from the Force’s Counter-Corruption team said: “We are pleased with today’s outcome which reflects the gravity of these appalling offences and follows an investigation by the team which, ultimately, uncovered someone who was seeking to have sexual relations with a child. The sentence today reflects the seriousness of these offences and demonstrates how this Force will stop at nothing to root out police officers and staff whose conduct falls below the line or, as in this case, is wholly criminal.”
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.”
Foster resigned from the Force last month, the day before a gross misconduct hearing arranged by Northamptonshire Police.
He will also be added to the College of Policing barred list preventing future employment with the police service.