Published: 06:00, 16 December 2020
A volunteer police officer exploited a vulnerable young woman with "incessant" messages offering to pay £300 for sex after meeting her on Tinder.
Quinn Baker, who has since resigned from his role with Kent Police, has been added to the police barred register after a hearing found him guilty of gross misconduct.
Mr Baker, who is understood to also be a police employee, will now be banned from working in any role within any law enforcement agency.
According to a LinkedIn profile, Mr Baker is employed as a communications officer for Kent Police but the force said it could not comment further for legal reasons.
Mr Baker, who was a special constable based in Medway, did not attend the misconduct hearing in which he was found to have "exploited the woman for his own pleasure".
The panel heard he first met the woman - named only as Witness A - via the dating app in 2017 but the incidents examined by the panel date back to September and October last year.
Matt Chidley, representing Kent Police, said she was described as a young woman with "significant mental health issues" who had history of drug and alcohol abuse and was a "prolific self-harmer".
Mr Childey said after the pair exchanged messages, they went out for dinner once before she blocked him on the dating app after he repeatedly sent messages asking her for sex.
The panel heard the messages were "incessant and always about sex" and that when she was drunk "he always wanted to meet" which she later told officers made her feel uncomfortable.
Last year, Witness A unblocked Mr Baker from the app and they started messaging again.
Mr Childey said: "The former officer was aware of her financial difficulties and Witness A reports he would say 'if you do this, I'll give you money'. It was always sex he wanted.
"There can be no doubt the former officer was aware of her vulnerability as the pair had been meeting and she had told him about her background, she says in her statement."
In September 2019, Mr Baker sent Witness A a Snapchat message offering to pay her £30 for a sex act.
The hearing was told Mr Baker collected her from her home address later that evening and the pair had been driving around before he asked her if she wanted the money in exchange for giving him oral sex.
In a statement later given to investigating officers, she said Mr Baker had not threatened her or forced her but that she needed the money and accepted.
She said Mr Baker had told her to delete the messages he'd sent earlier proposing to pay for sexual favours.
The woman returned home with the money and told a friend - known as Witness B - about the encounter and showed her the cash.
'He would say 'if you do this, I'll give you money'. It was always sex he wanted....'
The witness said she and the victim were "close", Mr Chidley said and it was "normal for them to discuss personal matters". The panel was told Witness B knew about her friend's money troubles.
The panel was told Mr Baker also offered to pay the victim £300 for full sexual intercourse, which did not happen, and the witness grew concerned about his conduct as they were also aware of his role within the police.
Mr Chidley added: "Given (the victim's) vulnerability, Witness B was understandably concerned about the former officer's conduct and called 101 to report him.
"The reaction is highly relevant when assessing the public's perception of the former officer's behaviour."
Following this meeting, the hearing was told Witness A reported a serious criminal allegation - not relating to Mr Baker - and had self-harmed causing paramedics to be called to her home.
It was alleged Mr Baker used his warrant card, despite not being formally called to the scene, in order to gain access to the woman while she was being treated in the back of an ambulance.
Mr Chidley said this was the first time Witness B and Mr Baker had met and he told her he had been called by the vulnerable woman.
When Witness B challenged him for being there, Mr Baker reportedly replied saying: "I don't need to speak to you. I'm a professional and police officer," and flashed an ID card and got in the ambulance.
"It was a bit like in the movies when police flash their cards quickly. I was concerned about him and that's why I raised it with the uniformed officers that arrived."
Mr Chidley said as he had not been called in an official capacity, Mr Baker's use of his warrant card was "not legitimate".
The force said this was a "clear breach" of policing standards into honesty and integrity.
But the panel dismissed the allegations about the use of the warrant card for personal gain on the grounds of a lack of evidence.
Panel chairman Nicola Talbot Hadley said they had considered documents, statements as part of an investigation into Mr Baker's conduct and despite him failing to attend in person, this included a five-page statement given to investigators under caution.
Ms Talbot Hadley said Mr Baker had engaged in an relationship with Witness A "that was exploitative of her vulnerability and involved the use of money for his own sexual gratification".
She added: "He knew about her mental health and financial difficulties and continued in this relationship.
"He described it as 'friends with benefits' suggesting a lack of emotional commitment.
'Baker brought discredit on himself, and thereby the organisation, by his unethical actions towards a vulnerable young woman...'
"We found Witness A to be credible and the offer of money was linked to repeated requests for sexual favours."
The panel agreed Mr Baker paying the woman £30 for a sexual act was found proven as well as offering to pay her £300 for sexual intercourse and had he not already resigned his position would have been dismissed without notice.
Ms Talbot Hadley said Mr Baker's actions were breaches of professional standards and discreditable conduct and "brought the reputation of the police service into disrepute and cause damage to public confidence".
After the hearing, Supt John Phillips of Kent Police’s Professional Standards Department said: "Former Special Constable Quinn Baker brought discredit on himself, and thereby the organisation, by his unethical actions towards a vulnerable young woman.
"It is important that the misconduct proceedings went ahead despite the former officer’s resignation so he can be barred from working within law enforcement in the future.
"The vast majority of officers perform their duties to the highest standard, doing everything they can to protect those at risk of serious harm.
"When an individual falls short of what is expected of them we will investigate and if appropriate move forward with the misconduct process."