Policeman sacked after “sexual pursuit” of Romford girl, 14

A police officer has been sacked after a hearing found he formed an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable 14-year-old Romford girl he met while working.

Pc Robert Nicholson was 27-years-old when he “pursued the girl sexually”, after meeting her in custody after she was arrested, a misconduct hearing by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (PICC) heard.

They went on to exchange hundreds of text and Facebook messages and regularly spoke by phone.

The couple spent several hours together at Romford train station, after he drove from his home in Colchester to take her away from her Romford care home.

Staff reported her missing and one of the girl’s friends told adults she was with a police officer.

IPCC commissioner for London, Deborah Glass, said: “The girl told us that she trusted this man because he was a police officer. We expect the police to protect us and our families, yet PC Nicholson’s actions were, from the outset, a disgraceful abuse of his position.

“Although he met the girl while she was in police custody, and there can be little doubt he knew her age and vulnerability, he exploited his position as a police officer to pursue her sexually. I am glad he is now no longer in a position to do this to anyone else.”

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Pc Nicholson stood trial in November last year on two counts of sexual activity with a 14-year-old child. He was found not guilty after a five day trial.

Pc Nicholson first came into contact with the girl on October 2009 at Bethnal Green Police Station, in east London.

The officer, working as a jailer, asked the girl for her phone number and the next day sent her 17 text messages and received the same number back.

Messages showed the communications developed emotional and sexual elements, and led the girl to believe they were in a relationship.

Pc Nicholson used police databases to access records on the girl, which would have further highlighted her age and vulnerability.

The panel also heard the officer failed to act when he became aware of a planned trip by the girl and a friend to Southend, where they were due to meet a significantly older man.

The panel found a number of gross misconduct allegations against Pc Nicholson proven.

The hearing follows an investigation by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).