Blackpool police officer dismissed over indecent child images

A Blackpool officer has been dismissed for gross misconduct
A Blackpool officer has been dismissed for gross misconduct

A Blackpool police officer found guilty of possession of indecent images of children has been dismissed

PC Andrew Birch, a neighbourhood officer in the resort, was found guilty of gross misconduct at a police disciplinary hearing.

Chief Constable, Steve Finnigan, found the allegation against PC Birch proven and in breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour in the area of discreditable conduct.

The Chief Constable found that the conduct amounted to gross misconduct and PC Birch was dismissed from Lancashire Constabulary with immediate effect.

On April 26 at Liverpool Crown Court PC Birch was convicted of an offence of possession of indecent images of children of Category B.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "A serving police officer receiving a criminal conviction for possessing indecent images of children brings discredit on the police and undermines public confidence in the police."

Three images were found in a briefcase in PC Birch's personal locker at Blackpool Central Police Station.

The same briefcase contained other police material which should not be stored in a personal locker.

The judge who heard the case believed PC Birth received the images in the course of his work as a PC and that his retention of them was because he decided not to or couldn’t be bothered to follow proper procedures.

He was satisfied PC Birch did not keep the images for sexual purposes.

Police officers had searched PC Birch's home computer and phone and found no evidence of other indecent images, nor any ‘searches’ for such material.