The mother of a girl raped by a “predatory” policeman has condemned the officer as he was jailed for 18 years.
James Ford, 31, who works as an intervention officer for Hertfordshire Police, was found guilty of 10 counts of sexual abuse against the same child following at Cambridge Crown Court.
In a victim impact statement, the mother said: “You should be able to trust a police officer.”
She described Ford as a “disgusting excuse of a human being”, adding: “No prison sentence is ever going to be long enough for what happened.”
The woman described her child as a “sweet, innocent, chatty, friendly girl” but said that she is “no longer the happy, sociable girl she was before”.
“No child should have to go through what she has,” she added.
Ford was found guilty of four counts of rape, four of sexual assault and two of causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.
The judge in the case, Mr Justice Simon Bryan, described it as a “horrific catalogue of serious sexual offending against a young child”.
Ford was also found guilty of carrying out an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice, in that he “deliberately wiped his phone by factory resetting his Samsung Mobile phone”.
The judge said that jurors were satisfied that Ford had wiped his phone as he “knew or suspected material relating to the offences” was on it.
He said this was consistent with the girl’s evidence that Ford was “pointing (his) phone at her while acts of sexual abuse were going on”.
The judge described the girl’s evidence as “incredibly credible”, adding: “Her graphic descriptions of your offending are as harrowing as they are convincing.”
Addressing the defendant, the judge said: “As a serving police officer you, of all people, should have protected society against sexual abusers, and you acted as a perpetrator of such vile crimes yourself.”
He told Ford he was a “disgrace to your office”, adding that his conduct “overshadows the countless occasions when brave officers behave with honour and propriety, and demand the greatest of respect from the public”.
The judge sentenced Ford to 18 years and three months in prison with an extended licence period of one year.
The defendant must serve two thirds of the custodial term before he can be deemed eligible for release on licence.
He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order until further order and given a restraining order in respect of the girl. The bearded defendant showed no reaction as he was led to the cells.
The offences happened between 2019 and 2021. Hertfordshire Police said Ford was suspended from duties in November last year.
Hertfordshire Police said that when allegations emerged, the case was independently investigated by specialist officers based within the Child Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (CAISU) at Cambridgeshire Police.
The matter was also referred to police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct, and the force’s Professional Standards Department.
Ford, a serving officer, joined the force in December 2019 and was originally based in East Hertfordshire as a uniformed response officer, Hertfordshire Police said.
Detective Inspector Susie Hine, who heads the Child Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (CAISU) at Cambridgeshire Police, paid tribute to the “courage and bravery” of the child.
Hertfordshire Assistant Chief Constable Genna Telfer said: “James Ford took advantage of a vulnerable victim in the most appalling way and his behaviour will have devastated those involved.
“Thankfully, due to the bravery of the victim and the due diligence of the officers investigating, he will now serve time in prison which is where he belongs.
“I am disgusted by his actions and he will face a fast track hearing for dismissal.”
Additional reporting by PA