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Friday, 07 September 2018

Disgraced police inspector sacked after admitting making or distributing child images

Written by Richard Vernalls

A disgraced police inspector who admitted making or distributing more than 300 indecent images of children has been sacked.

Lee Bartram, of West Midlands Police, was thrown out of the force at a fast-track gross misconduct hearing held at its headquarters on Thursday.

Chief Constable David Thompson told the special case hearing Bartram's actions had brought "a huge amount of discredit and disapproval" on the force, and had risked "undermining broader public confidence in policing".

Bartram, 44, of Bustleholme Lane, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to five counts of making indecent images of a child and two counts of distributing similar images, at a court hearing last month.

The material included a film of a six-year-old boy, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The charges, spanning a period between August 2013 and the same month of this year, relate to a total of 328 images, including some found on an iPad and an iPhone.

At the force misconduct hearing Bartram, who chose not to attend, was represented by his Police Federation representative.

The inspector had a high profile role in policing Birmingham city centre, attending events like Birmingham Pride, and the St Patrick's Day Parade in March this year.

After finding a case against Bartram for gross misconduct proven, Mr Thompson gave his findings in a hearing lasting only 10 minutes.

He said: "In this particular case, Inspector Bartram held a very senior and high profile position in the force, and would have been seen as a well-regarded officer.

"The shock caused is therefore high. The disappointment, horror, and disgust is even higher.

"The public rely on the police to carry out their role with diligence.

"The most vulnerable in society should always feel they can rely on the police.

"His actions are a serious breach of that trust and confidence.

"They carry a far higher risk of undermining broader confidence in policing."

Describing Bartram's crimes as "totally incompatible with the police", Mr Thompson said: "He is dismissed without notice, having brought a huge amount of discredit and disapproval on the force."

The force has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in connection with Bartram's offending.

Following the hearing, West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson signalled he would be looking at removing a portion of Bartram's police pension - that segment made up of the contributions made by the force - once criminal proceedings have concluded.

A spokesman for the commissioner's office said: "We are looking at this very closely.

"We now have to wait for all the criminal justice procedures to conclude."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) West Midlands Police / PA Wire.