Man charged with impersonating police officer over alleged kidnap of 14-year-old in Crawley

·2-min read

A 32-year-old man has been charged with impersonating a police officer and sexual offences over the alleged kidnap of a teenage girl.

David Peter Young, a chef from Crawley, in West Sussex, was due to appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court after the 14-year-old girl was approached on her way to school, in the Three Bridges area, by a man in a yellow hi-vis jacket on Wednesday.

He then allegedly took her to a nearby area away from the road and searched her clothing before leaving the scene on a bicycle.

The girl was unharmed and is receiving support.

Sussex Police said Young, of Garton Close, Ilfield, has been charged with offences including kidnap with intent to commit a relevant sexual offence, kidnap, and impersonating a police officer.

He has also been charged with two breaches of a sexual harm prevention order.

Superintendent Marc Clothier said: "We want to reassure people we have not received any similar reports at this time and there is no current risk to anyone in the community in relation to this case.

"You will see more uniformed patrols in the area and we encourage you to stop and talk to us if you have any concerns.

It follows concerns being raised around women being approached by lone police officers following the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, who was a serving policeman at the time.

The force said if this scenario happens, officers should be asked to use their police radio to contact their operator and confirm their identity.

Mr Clothier added: "We understand some people may want additional reassurance when interacting with a lone police officer and when you are alone.

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"If this is the case, genuine officers can use their police radio on loud speaker to talk to the operator in the police control room. The operator can confirm the identity of the officer, that they are on duty and carrying out legitimate policing business."

He added that off-duty police officers intervening in a crime in action or where someone is vulnerable, and not carrying a radio, will quickly call 999 for backup.

Anyone with information that would assist the police investigation is asked to call 101, quoting Operation Lonsdale.

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