Met Police officer sent selfie after ‘flirty’ chat with female robbery victim

PC James Brown has been handed a written warning after sending a selfie to a robbery victim (PA) (PA Wire)
PC James Brown has been handed a written warning after sending a selfie to a robbery victim (PA) (PA Wire)

A Metropolitan Police officer has been disciplined after he sent a selfie to a female robbery victim and told her: “Make sure you report another crime asap”.

PC James Brown was called in to investigate after the woman’s handbag was snatched from her car in Haringey in February 2022.

The officer, then on probation, called the woman on the phone and sent her a picture of himself standing in a stairwell, followed 30 minutes later with the WhatsApp message: “It was lovely talking to you, make sure you report another crime asap” and a smiley face emoji.

In a third message which could not be recovered, PC Brown asked her “are you alive?” or “are you dead?”, a misconduct hearing was told.

PC Brown was reported to his superiors by a colleague who had seen the selfie and overheard his phone call with the woman.

The officer has now been issued with a written warning, after he accepted a “flirtatious” exchange with the woman but insisted the messages were an ill-judged attempt to build rapport with a victim of crime.

“PC Brown went beyond what was reasonable to build that rapport in sending the messages and in particular in sending the follow-up messages after the call had ended”, said misconduct hearing chair Hilary Norris.

“We have noted that the misconduct was confined to a single episode, we have found that at least initially PC Brown had a legitimate purpose in sending the messages but ‘got it wrong’ in the way in which he did it.”

The chair said PC Brown had “genuine remorse” and had been hailed as “exceptional” by his superior officers for his skills dealing with members of the public, particularly young people.

“He looks to be somebody who could really be an asset to the Service.

“He has no doubt learned a hard lesson that sometimes he will need to rein in his natural propensity to become familiar, quickly, with those he encounters.

“We do not however want to inhibit his natural warmth in engaging with the public.

“If he can achieve that balance he can get his desired career back on track, and to that end we consider that a written warning is appropriate.”

The written warning will stay on PC Brown’s record for the next 18 months. An allegation that his actions were sexually-motivated was dismissed.