A FORMER Bridlington police officer has been jailed for 15 months for a sex assault on a schoolgirl and downloading child porn.
Retired crime unit manager Kevin Ford, 57, had an exemplary 37 year career with Humberside Police.
He received many commendations, but hid a secret past of a serious sexual assault on an 11-year-old girl in Driffield.
He was last employed having 17 people working under him and was stationed at Bridlington, Beverley and Hornsea during his career. He retired from the force in 2009.
Ford was said to have escaped justice for more than two years, but was caught by a third party comment which led to police searching his computer finding 270 images of child pornography.
At a Hull Crown Court hearing on Monday he gave his address as Albert Terrace, Beverley. His wife, a serving police officer who is said to be standing by him, was in court as he was jailed.
He had pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault and three charges of making indecent pictures of children.
Recorder Andrew Campbell, QC, told him: “You are a man with an exemplary work record having served this country until your retirement in 2009.
“You committed a very serious sexual assault on an 11 year old girl. It was an isolated offence, but it was aggravated by the finding of indecent images on your computer three years later which shows you did have an interest in child pornography. They were essentially for your own sexual enjoyment.
“I have read the letter that your wife has written, but the courts have a public duty requirement and nothing other than an immediate custodial sentence can be passed.”
Ford admitted to police he had touched the girl’s private parts as he tried to calm her. When interviewed he also admitted kissing her neck, but denied taking her hand and putting it on his manhood.
Crown barrister Andrew Wilson said the images on the computer had been erased and the thumbnails found by police were only an echo.
Defence barrister Mark Bury said: “He is totally ashamed of himself, not only for the offences he has committed, but for his family. He has no one to blame but himself. And he does blame himself.”
He said jailing him would put his family in difficult financial circumstances with his wife having to cope on her police salary and his police pension.
As well as jailing him, the judge ordered Ford should sign on the National Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
He also imposed a Sexual Offences’ Prevention order banning him for working as a volunteer with children under 16.
Speaking outside court, Inspector Alan Bentham said: “Humberside Police are committed to robustly prosecuting any allegations of child abuse. I think the judge has given a sentence that sends out the message this will not be tolerated.”