A CHESHIRE Police community support officer who had sex whilst on duty has been jailed.

Philip Barber, a PCSO with the force, was handed eight months behind bars today, Friday, after admitting two counts of misconduct in a public office.

Chester Crown Court heard that the 37-year-old attended the home of one woman in the Nantwich area several times a week in October 2018 after she made a report of anti-social behaviour.

Barber, of Stoke-on-Trent, attempted to kiss her on one occasion before he was asked to leave and later sent her sexually explicit photographs and messages.

His actions were reported the same month, and he resigned from his position in December that year.

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct then found that he used police systems in order to contact a second woman, who received communications of a sexual nature and had sex with him while he was on duty.

IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe said: “Philip Barber abused his position for sexual purpose on multiple occasions, which is a grievous breach of professional standards.

“The evidence we gathered was so overwhelming that he pleaded guilty to his crimes, which fortunately spared his victims having to relive their experiences in open court.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for assisting with this investigation.

“The vast majority of police officers and staff are hardworking and professional, but I hope this sends a clear message to the small minority who act corruptly that they will face the serious consequences of their actions.”

Barber first joined Cheshire Police in April 2017 as a special constable before becoming a PCSO for the Nantwich area a year later.

Detective superintendent Chris Warren, of the force's professional standards department, said: “As a Police Community Support Officer Barber held a position of trust and he agreed to abide by the clear guidelines about the standards expected of him.

“Disappointingly, as this conviction shows, his behaviour was totally inappropriate and he clearly failed to meet these standards.

“I welcome the sentence that has been handed to Barber and I would like to take this as an opportunity to thank the IOPC for conducting a thorough investigation, which ultimately led to Barber’s conviction.

“While Barber pleaded guilty and has now resigned from the force, that does not in any way excuse his behaviour and I hope that the outcome of this case reassures the public by demonstrating that nobody is above the law - no matter what position they hold.”

Deputy chief constable Julie Cooke added: "It is essential that the people of Cheshire have both confidence and trust in the service we deliver.

"We actively promote the highest standards of personal and professional behaviour and integrity to all officers and staff.

"I want to ensure that anyone who turns to us for help, or who finds themselves in need of our assistance, can be completely confident that they will be treated with the courtesy, respect and professionalism they deserve.

"Sadly, in this case Barber’s behaviour fell well below the level expected of him and grossly undermined the privileged position that his role as a member of Cheshire Police demands and expects."