PC Lee Tatton, 54, was on duty with Staffordshire Police when he went on a messenger site and asked the teenager if he was ‘bi, straight or gay’ before making a sexual comment.
Tatton, who appeared on Cops UK: Bodycam Squad, was sacked from the force in September, reports Stoke-On-Trent Live.
Prosecutor Peter McCartney told Birmingham Crown Court: “The phone was analysed. It showed communication on August 6, 2019 with a user who said he was 13 years old. It took place between 12.02pm and 12.12pm when the defendant was on duty. He was on duty that day from 7am to 4pm.
“Tatton asked, ‘How old are you’? The response was 13. Tatton said, ‘You bi, straight or gay’?” and Tatton then made a sexual comment.
Police found four category A images on the phone which included girls as young as six being abused. There were five category B images and 20 still and moving images at category C. Numerous search terms were found including, ‘very young girls’ and ‘under 18 chat’.
And there were two photographs of a 12-year-old girl which had been downloaded and modified.
Tatton pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and four offences of making an indecent/pseudo photograph of a child.
Jasvir Singh Mann, mitigating, asked Judge Heidi Kubik QC to pass a sentence which would not take away the defendant’s liberty. He said a three year community order would be the best way to educate and rehabilitate him.
Mr Mann said: “He is 54. Prior to these offences he was living a thoroughly decent life. He worked as a psychiatric nurse for a very long time. He then joined the police force in 2006.
“In 2016 he received an award. The police have a very difficult job on a daily basis. The award recognises he went beyond the call of duty. A man was ready to jump off the Potteries shopping centre. He negotiated with the potential jumper and took him away from danger.
“There are few falls from grace as big as his. He is mortified by his actions. He describes his behaviour as horrific. He feels remorse and shame. He will live with it for the rest of his life.
“We, as a society, expect those in positions of trust, as he was, to behave to a high standard. He knows he has let the organisation down. He has let down his partner and children. All are thoroughly distressed by the position he has placed them in. He is distressed because he is responsible for that distress.”
He added: “This is not a man who was functioning normally at the time the offences were committed.”
Judge Kubik QC passed a sentence of immediate custody and said:
“In August last year, while on duty as a serving police officer, you made contact through a messaging service with someone who you believed to be a 13-year-old boy asking questions about his penis and encouraging him to masturbate.
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