A police force has apologised for allowing a rogue officer – originally from Glasgow – to rape and sexually abuse vulnerable women while on duty.
Northumbria Police admitted serious failings within the force led to Pc Stephen Mitchell being free to attack drug addicts and shoplifters he arrested while on duty at Newcastle’s Pilgrim Street police station.
The officer was investigated but not prosecuted on three separate occasions after complaints by women about his behaviour.
It also emerged the former soldier was prosecuted but acquitted at a court in Edinburgh for a serious sexual offence, before becoming a Pc.
Mitchell’s actions had done “horrendous damage” to Northumbria Police’s reputation, police chiefs said.
The 42-year-old faces life in jail after being convicted of rape and indecent assault.
He had denied all the charges against him, claiming the 16 women who made complaints about his behaviour were liars. He was cleared on Friday of three counts of rape, two indecent assaults and two counts of misconduct in a public office.
But the jury at Newcastle Crown Court convicted him of two charges of rape and three indecent assaults on its fifth day of deliberations.
He was found guilty on Tuesday of six counts of misconduct in a public office but cleared of seven other counts of misconduct and one of assault.
Speaking at a press conference following the verdicts, temporary deputy Chief Constable Jim Campbell said Mitchell was an evil and manipulative man. He said: “I want to apologise to everyone who has been subject to criminal or inappropriate behaviour by Mitchell during his time as a serving officer with Northumbria Police. The public quite rightly expect that the officers and staff of Northumbria Police adhere to the highest possible standards of professional conduct and place immense trust in them.”