Police officer caught in sex worker sting keeps his job

'There are some cases when we do suspend officers and there are times when we don’t and we look at each case very carefully'

Friday, 11th March — By Isabelle Stanley


A CAMDEN police officer who was caught using a prostitute in a sting operation has not been suspended.

PC Tristan Downing, 38, was arrested in the early hours of January 14 by officers investigating the exploitation of women.

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last Monday, he pleaded guilty to soliciting a prostitute, saying he was very sorry and ashamed by his arrest. He was fined £450, but has not been suspended by the Met.

Borough Commander Chief Superintendant Andy Carter said: “Consideration is given around suspension of officers on the merits of the case – in this situation it wasn’t considered necessary in the circumstances. There are other cases where it would be.”

He added: “There are some cases when we do suspend officers and there are times when we don’t and we look at each case very carefully.”

Instead, PC Downing has been placed on restricted duties, which Ch Supt Carter said means: “He’s not in an operational role at the minute. There are restrictions in place to ensure he’s carefully supervised.”

Asked if he thought other officers were using prostitutes, Ch Supt Carter said: “I’ve got no evidence that this is a widespread issue. It’s a very unusual situation.”

Police were carrying out an operation on the streets of Edmonton when they caught the officer, who was off duty at the time. They did not know he would be there, and were acting on intelligence that there was criminal activity in the area.

Ch Supt Carter said: “These sorts of operations go on across London all the time, they’re just not reported on. We cannot and are not waiting for the findings of ongoing inquiries to begin rebuilding the public’s trust and confidence that police officers will protect and respect them.”

He added: “We have already taken a number of significant steps to start real change across the organisation.

“These include two independent reviews, an examination of all current investigations of sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Met employees and an increase in the number of investigators in our professional standards directorate.”

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