By Davina Hyde
A Metropolitan Police officer who tried to groom teenage girls for sex was arrested at work in Bromley after being caught in an undercover sting.
Detective Constable Mark Collins, 58, admitted one count of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and six counts of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child.
He has been jailed for more than two years.
Collins, 58, who was attached to the Met’s South Area Command Unit, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday, 30 April. He was sentenced to two years and four months’ imprisonment for a number of sex offences involving children.
On Wednesday, 27 January at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to cause/incite a girl aged 13–15 to engage in sexual activity (with penetration) on or before 24 November 2019.
He also pleaded guilty to six counts of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child. The offences occurred between 4 November 2019 and 26 November 2019.
Collins used personal devices to commit the offences, some of which were carried out while he was on duty – but not in his capacity as a police officer.
Following his arrest on 26 November 2019, he was immediately suspended from duty and later charged on 9 November 2020.
Collins retired from the Met on 19 February.
A Special Case Hearing was held on Wednesday, 21 April and concluded that PC Collins’ conduct amounted to gross misconduct and that had he still been a serving officer he would have been dismissed.
Commander Paul Betts, Directorate of Professional Standards, said:“These are absolutely abhorrent crimes and it is utterly shocking that a police officer could have committed them.
“It is clear this type of conduct has no place within the organisation and we are committed to bringing the perpetrators of such terrible crimes to justice, whoever they may be.”
The Old Bailey heard Collins, from Fleet, in Hampshire, thought he was talking to a 13-year-old girl when he sent pictures of his privates over the Kik Messenger app while he was on holiday in Malta.
Collins, who resigned from the Met after his arrest, was found to have committed gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing last week and the force said he would have been sacked if he were still a serving officer
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