Former Stamford police officer jailed for more than two years
A former police officer from Stamford who sent 'predatory texts' to vulnerable abuse victims has been jailed for 32 months.
Jason Farquhar, (44), admitted six counts of misconduct in public office and one count of misuse of a police computer yesterday (Monday).
Northampton Crown Court heard Farquhar, from Stamford, would send inappropriate texts to women who had given him their number for police purposes.
One woman rang police in February 2015 to report her husband who had been shouting and smashing things, but the man left by the time police got there.
After she gave her number to Farquhar, who was formerly a member of the Cross Border Police team, he texted her that same evening.
The text read: “It’s PC Jase Farquhar...yes I know you are looking at my surname and thinking Shrek.
I am an understanding type of guy...explains why I am called Lord at work.”
He continued to contact her and told her he admired a woman with ambition and desire and that she kept herself in shape.
When he got no reply, he asked her if he had offended her.
In total he sent her 12 texts in the space of eight days, some of which were while he was on duty.
At the same time he was texting another woman who rang police to report an abusive partner.
Farquhar was one of the first officers to attend her home and he took her contact details
Prosecuting, Grace Hale said: “He began contacting her with the purpose of establishing an improper relationship.”
Farquhar sent her messages a few days later asking her how she was and the woman opened up about her abusive partner to him, saying she was lonely and frightened.
But Farquhar soon upped the ante with his texts.
Miss Hale said: “Things changed when the defendant overstepped the mark by complimenting her on her figure and wondering how anyone could ill-treat someone as beautiful as her.
“He began calling her gorgeous and putting kisses on his messages to her.”
She ignored the flirtatious texts but he sent her messages on WhatsApp complimenting her on her new profile picture if she changed it.
She told Farquhar to stop making the comments as he was a married man and he would stop. Two messages from the former PC, who joined Northants Police in 2005, were saved on her phone. One read “hey gorgeous xx” and another one said “that is one helleva [sic] gorgeous profile pic xx”.
She realised his behaviour was inappropriate after reading a news article about police officers who became involved with vulnerable victims. Miss Hale said: “She was left wondering what his intentions towards her were.
“She trusted and confided in the defendant because he was a police officer. “
She now feels sick as she realised that he had only pretended to be her friend for an ulterior motive.
“He was in fact, predatory towards her.”
Another woman, aged in her 20s, rang the police to report veiled threats sent to her by her partner on Facebook.
Farquhar, a former member of the British Army, attended her home with a colleague and took her details. But again the messages turned flirtatious and he sent messages daily, including a photo of himself in uniform and a photo of him on holiday.
Miss Hale added: “She said that defendant’s behaviour towards her was not like a professional person in public service. “It was more akin to someone that she had just met in a bar on a night out. “She thought this ultimate intention towards her was a sexual one.”
Farquhar, who was sacked from the force last year having been suspended the year before, also sent sexual messages to a woman three months after an investigation involving an assault on her son had ended. In these messages he included comments about how ‘great’ her breasts and buttocks were.
He also sent nude pictures to a female colleague and misused a police computer to see if one of the complainants was related to someone he knew.
The court also heard that that Farquhar lied to colleagues that he had to go to Rushden while on shift to speak to other police officers.
Police data showed he had in fact gone to Higham Ferrers for 50 minutes to meet a woman he was having an affair with. He messaged the woman and said the police investigation into him was a witch-hunt.
Mitigating, James Thomas said Farquhar, a former personal trainer, was a ‘kind, caring, friendly individual’. He said: “What he has failed to do is recognise the appropriate boundaries. “It’s not predatory, its flirtatious...unbecoming of a police officer.”
He added that there was no sinister element to his actions. He said: “He is not somebody who in any way poses a risk to women.”
Mr Thomas also told the court that Farquhar suffered from PTSD after serving the armed forces in Srebrenica.
Following the sentincing, Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: "Our Counter-Corruption Unit carried out a rigorous and thorough two-year inquiry to investigate and establish fully the extent of this officer's wrong-doing in order to dismiss him from the Force and ultimately bring criminal charges against him.
"I am hugely disappointed by the actions of this former officer, whose behaviour presented a major risk to public confidence in the police. We are absolutely determined to root out those officers and staff who abuse their position and choose to engage in highly unprofessional, predatory conduct that in no way meets the standards of professional behaviour expected from a serving officer.
"The investigation into Farquhar began in April 2016 following a complaint of inappropriate behaviour.”
As part of the investigation, detectives spoke to more than 100 women – victims, colleagues, family of suspects or offenders – who Farquhar had had some form of contact with in the previous 12 months in his role as a police officer.
Numerous examples of inappropriate contact by phone, text or social media, and subsequent allegations of sexual misconduct were found.
DCC Swann added: "It's worth noting we had sufficient complaints and evidence which, although it did not meet the threshold for criminal charges, enabled us to complete misconduct proceedings on the basis of that evidence alone.
"The vast majority of police officers are professional, hard-working and conscientious individuals who will be shocked and appalled at such behaviour by one of their colleagues. There is no place in the police service for anyone who abuses in such a way the trust placed in them as a constable.
"Farquhar deliberately and consciously crossed the boundary between his role as a police officer and his personal life, repeatedly breaching the standards of professional behaviour by failing to act with self-control and pursuing improper personal relationships. He took advantage of his position to engage in highly inappropriate contact with women, many of whom were in a vulnerable situation.
"They needed the professionalism expected of a police officer not the selfish advances of a sexual predator.
"This, the worst ever such case uncovered within this Force, was an absolute abuse of his position and we hope this conviction and his dismissal from the police service goes some way to reassure the public of our determination to identify and deal with unprofessional conduct and, where necessary, pursue the case through the criminal justice system."
Farquhar was suspended from duty in April 2016 and dismissed from the Force in August 2017 following a fast-track gross misconduct disciplinary hearing.