Sex pest Humberside Police officer was allowed to mentor female colleagues

Humberside Police has refused to directly answer why an officer known to have behaved “inappropriately” towards women was allowed to mentor trainee female colleagues.

Former officer PC Christopher Lings was found to have sexually harassed two young women under his mentorship during a police misconduct hearing in Goole on Tuesday – one of whom he allegedly said he was planning to rape.

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A panel ruled that, had the 35-year-old Grimsby-based officer not resigned himself in March last year, former PC Lings would have been dismissed and was now barred from re-entering any police force for five years.

It was also heard how Lings had been received a “final written warning” for a previous incident involving three other women – the details of which were not disclosed – in May 2015, nearly five years before he harassed and attempted to assault one officer under his wing in March 2020 at a colleagues’ drinks night at her home.

It also transpired Lings had similarly tried to assault another female officer he had been mentoring at a Christmas party at a Lincoln hotel in December 2019.

The force declined to answer on Wednesday whether a review would be carried out into why Lings was judged fit to help train young female staff, adding that it was satisfied that “appropriate” decisions were taken at the time.

A spokesperson for Humberside Police said: “We assess every report of misconduct on a case-by-case basis and each one is carefully reviewed by specially trained officers and staff working in our Professional Standards Department, to ensure that suitable action is taken.

“In this case, following the previous allegations made in 2015, Lings was issued with a final written warning which was deemed an appropriate sanction in relation to the accusations made. We are satisfied that the decisions taken at the time, in regard to the nature of the complaint, were appropriate.

“This week’s misconduct panel considered more recent, and in the view of both Humberside Police and the independent panel, more serious accusations. Two allegations were made against Mr Lings and both were found to be proven.

“A gross misconduct decision was made, and had Mr Lings not already resigned, he would have been dismissed without notice from his post.”

Panel chairman Callum Cox added in his summing up on Tuesday that Lings actions were particularly serious due to the distress caused to the complainants, and the damage caused to public confidence in police in light of the “current climate”.

It follows public outcry last year over the murder of South London marketing executive Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped and murdered by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens.

Despite this, Humberside has re-iterated that it regards all allegations of harassment and violence against women and girls as a “top priority”.