Officer convicted of rape

A Thames Valley Police officer from Carterton has been convicted of rape, the force has confirmed.

PC Richard Hale, 35, of Peel Place, was found guilty by a unanimous jury of one count of rape following a trial that began on Monday, October 3, at Oxford Crown Court.

On December 3, 2001, Hale met the victim – a woman in her 20s – and they visited pubs in Witney before travelling to a property in Peel Place where Hale raped her.

The victim reported the incident to police on June 27, 2012.

PC Hale, who joined the force in April 2003, was issued with a postal requisition in connection with the offence on October 20, 2015, and suspended from duty on October 26, 2015.

Assistant Chief Constable Jason Hogg said: “The conviction of Hale demonstrates that Thames Valley Police takes all reports of sexual offences extremely seriously and will investigate to ensure offenders, whoever they may be and regardless of any positions they hold, are brought to justice.

“The force treats all allegations against our officers and staff with the utmost gravity.

“Our priorities in relation to protecting the public are clear – there is no place in the force for those who commit offences of this nature. Victims of all sexual offences, regardless of when they occurred, should feel confident in reporting incidents to us.”

A misconduct investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Department has been launched following PC Hale’s conviction.

Hale was remanded in custody to appear at the same court for sentencing on a date yet to be confirmed.

• Earlier this year, former sergeant Michael Bromell, who had been working in the Cherwell local policing area, was sacked after he was found to have committed gross misconduct and breached the standard of professional behaviour. Between summer 2011 and November 2014, he had held a knife at a colleague’s neck and shot at fellow officers with a BB gun. He lost his job in April.