An inspection into Thames Valley Police has concluded that the force “lost opportunities” to identify that former PC Luke Horner was unfit to serve as an officer at Amersham Police Station.
During a criminal trial on September 8, Horner admitted that he had engaged in penetrative sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl in Northamptonshire whilst off-duty, and that he recorded the act on the victim’s phone. He was sentenced to six years and four months in prison.
The 24-year-old was arrested by Northamptonshire Police shortly after committing the offence on June 11. He was immediately suspended by Thames Valley Police, who then asked the Independent Office for Police Conducts (IOPC) to analyse whether there had been shortcomings in their vetting system.
On October 25, the inspectorate concluded: “Thames Valley Police lost opportunities to take stricter action against a police officer who went on to commit a child sexual offence, but it could not have reasonably anticipated he would commit this crime.”
The inspectorate found “at least five opportunities” that could have alerted Thames Valley Police to Horner’s unsuitability for the role.
“At the initial vetting stage,” reads the report, “the force should have made further enquiries into two separate issues: a potential sexual assault allegation and his early departure from the army.”
“During his police service,” the report continues, “the force failed to identify that there were questions about his honesty and integrity which arose following several incidents.
“When considered together, these incidents clearly indicated that PC Horner was not suited to being a police officer.”
In light of these findings, the inspectorate has laid out several areas of learning concerning “vetting, professional standards and counter-corruption arrangements” for Thames Valley to take onboard.