A misconduct hearing heard that PC Robert Nicholson first met the girl at Bethnal Green police station in October 2009 whilse she was in custody after being arrested. PC Nicholson, who was working as a jailer at the time, proceeded to send the girl 17 text messages the next day. An investigation by the Metropolitan’s Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards found that the text messages and subsequent facebook messages were of an emotional and sexual nature. The extent of the contact led the girl to believe that they were in a relationship.
The investigators also showed at the hearing that PC Nicholson used police databases to access records of the girl.The hearing then heard on the 16th of December 2009, the officer met the girl in Romford. This prompted the care home where she was staying to report her missing and the investigation to begin.
The girl told us that she trusted this man because he was a police officer. We expect the police to protect us and our families, yet PC Nicholson’s actions were, from the outset, a disgraceful abuse of his position. Although he met the girl while she was in police custody, and there can be little doubt he knew her age and vulnerability, he exploited his position as a police officer to pursue her sexually. I am glad he is now no longer in a position to do this to anyone else.
PC Nicholson stood trial in November 2010 for allegations arising from the time the girl was away from the home on the 16 December 2009. He was found not guilty after a five day trial.
The IPCC announced that a disciplinary hearing found the following allegations of gross misconduct had been proven to be true:
Discreditable conduct in that he used his position as a police officer to form a highly unprofessional personal relationship with a juvenile girl from a care home.
Discreditable conduct in that he was aware two juvenile girls had absconded from their care home on 12th December 2009 and took no action despite knowing this would provoke a missing persons investigation and where they were staying.
Discreditable conduct in that he accessed police records for a juvenile girl for personal reasons.