WEST Midlands Police officer James Ankrett who has been jailed after engaging in an inappropriate relationship sent "provocative" selfies of himself in bed to a domestic abuse victim he was supposed to be looking after.

A court heard he abused his position to begin a "flirtatious and sexualised" relationship with the victim for his own sexual gratification.

He had been on duty for West Midlands Police when he handed over his personal mobile phone number to the woman following an assault in 2017.

Between July 8 and July 17, 2017 the pair went on to exchange seductive images of themselves posing in bed.

PC Ankrett, aged 40, also used the police computer database to find out more about the woman and visited her home in uniform where he kissed her.

The former officer was charged following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Ankrett, from Hednesford, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to corrupt or other improper exercise of police powers on the second day of his trial last month.

He was dismissed following a police misconduct hearing last Thursday (October 14) and he was jailed for five months at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday (Monday October 18).

Sentencing him, Judge Christopher Millington QC, said: "These events start on July 7, 2017, when you responded to a 999 call to a woman who was having difficulty with her son.

"When you arrived she was in a distressed state and vulnerable.

"You escorted her in the garden and you behaved in an over familiar way.

"It is clear you quickly developed a sexual attraction to her and provided her with a personal phone number.

"Between July 8 and July 17 you sent a series a flirtatious and sexualised messages to her of you posing in bed, and she sent provocative images back.

"You also logged on police websites to find out more about her. You visited her house, in uniform, and kissing took place while her daughter was upstairs.

"You did visit the [victim's son's] school to reassure them about the home visit in early July - which alerted the police to this relationship.

"I have read carefully the five character witnesses.

"One thing is clear, punishment and deterrents are important in these cases.

"The public must see appropriate punishment for those who fail to live up to standards of a police officer.

"You are in part responsible for the long delay because of your original not guilty plea.

"Given the lateness of guilty plea, I give you five months imprisonment."

Ankrett was suspended from duties pending an internal investigation before he was dismissed from his role last week.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: "This behaviour is a matter of deep public concern at this time.

"The issue of Violence Against Women and Girls requires the police to act as champions for the fair treatment of women.

"Public trust is undermined when officers behave as this officer has. Officers like this have no place in West Midlands Police.

"They are an abhorrence to the men and women who make up this organisation who go out day in day out to protect the most vulnerable.

"They damage our standing and professional reputation.

"We will root them out and not only dismiss them but actively seek prosecutions when criminal laws have been broken."

IOPC regional director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, said after the sentence was passed: "Cases where officers abuse their position for sexual purposes are among the most serious examples of corruption that we investigate.

"The public has a right to expect police officers to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, and that those who fail to do so will be investigated and dealt with robustly.

"Police are taught to maintain professional boundaries between themselves and members of the public, who are often in vulnerable situations when they come into contact with officers.

"PC Ankrett now has a criminal conviction to his name and has paid a heavy price for stepping over that boundary."