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24 Hours in Police Custody: What happened to corrupt police officer Gareth Suffling

Channel 4 show 24 Hours in Police Custody caught more than it expected when it emerged that a police..

By admin , in Cambridge , at February 20, 2018

Channel 4 show 24 Hours in Police Custody caught more than it expected when it emerged that a police officer blackmailed a man after photographing him visiting a sex worker.

Gareth Suffling, 36, from Luton, was a detective constable at Bedfordshire Police when he demanded the victim pay £1,000 or pictures he took would be sent to family members and neighbours.

Officers found the blackmail letter on Suffling's computer after he failed to fully delete it.

But what happened to Suffling after he was arrested?

What happened in the case

Suffling parked near the place of work of a sex worker in Luton and took photos of a man arriving and leaving.

The police officer put the victim's car registration plate through the police computer to track down where he lived and blackmailed him – leaving a note and copy of the photographs.

The note read: "You have made an error in judgment. A massive error in judgment.

"The next step is for you to decide. Do you really want the people closest to you to know about this? You made a bad decision and put your perversions above your family. You WILL pay £1,000 today."

The note included instructions for a drop-off point to deliver the money. It demanded that the victim put £1,000 in a lay-by by 1pm that day.

When police are made aware of the blackmail attempt, the Major Crime Unit is brought in to oversee the investigation.

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The victim offered his own funds to plant at the drop-off point to catch the suspect.

Police investigate to see if the victim was set up – so a sex worker, a woman known as 'Kirie', is interviewed.

Police were satisfied that she had nothing to do with the blackmail.

Officers discover that someone had performed a traceable online search on the victim.

The person who conducted the search was found to be a CID detective from the Bedfordshire Police Serious Organised Crime Unit by the name of Gareth Suffling.

The investigating team found that he is on the surveillance team monitoring the drop off area for the £1,000. He was policing his own crime.

Arrested and searched

Suffling was arrested by one of his own colleagues

Suffling is arrested at his surveillance station screen, where the Major Crime Unit's DS Mark Devine comes to arrest him.

The 36-year-old was taken to a police station in Cambridgeshire, away from his home turf.

His house was searched, where officers found a torn up draft of the blackmail letter, with copies of the photos he had sent with the letter. Paperwork showed that he was in financial difficulty.

CCTV footage of the car park where Kirie was working shows Suffling walking past the gates – waiting for a suitable victim.

Suffling writes a confession – revealing that he acted alone and wanted to help a vulnerable prostitute get on a drug referral scheme.

He claims he researched this on his phone.

But officers found that he did not search this, but typed in 'How to Make Crime Pay' and 'Five Best Paying Illegal Jobs'.

What happened to him?

Gareth Suffling (Image: SWNS)

Suffling was originally sentenced to 18 months in prison for blackmail and misconduct in public office at St Albans Crown Court in September.

He will now serve three years in prison after his sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient in November.

The Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP, who referred the case, said: "Suffling was in a position of trust when he carried out these offences and his letter of blackmail was nothing short of menacing.

"This increased prison sentence shows that anyone caught using their position in public office to commit a crime will be punished."

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