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9 March 2016, 19:23
A former Bedfordshire Police officer has been convicted of a string of sex offences against underage girls.
Mohammad Arshad, 35, of Ferndale Road, Luton, was a trainee officer between April 2014 and October 2014 but was immediately suspended when one of the victims came forward.
He left the force in December 2014.
Bedfordshire Police launched an investigation and searched his home. Images of teenage girls were discovered on his phone and computers. Officers managed to trace a number of potential victims though social media messages.
Arshad was charged with a total of 22 charges against 13 girls covering a period between October 2012 and December 2014.
He denied all of the offences, but was convicted of 17 of the charges today (Wednesday 9th March) following a trial at St Albans Crown Court, which included:
The convictions related to 12 of the girls.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Collins said:
"This case shows how vigilant we must all be when it comes to social media and protecting our young people from harm. Mohammed Arshad effectively trawled social media sites for young girls, befriending them and grooming them in order to meet and then sexually abuse them for his own gratification.
Once the allegations were passed to us, we were able to act quickly to arrest him and ensure he was remanded in custody and therefore unable to commit any further offences. We worked closely with Luton Borough Council to identify and safeguard potential victims and I would like to commend all of the girls who have given evidence in this trial for their incredible bravery to come forward and help bring Arshad to justice.
Since this case we have reviewed our vetting policies and procedures in order to ensure they are as robust as possible to prevent anyone involved in criminality from joining the force and thus further protect the people we serve."
Arshad was remanded into custody and will be sentenced on 15 April.