DC Francois Olwage case referred to Independent Office for Police Conduct

Francois Olwage, aged 52, from Stevenage, was working for the Metropolitan Police when he tried to meet "Caitlin"

Francois Olwage, aged 52, from Stevenage, was working for the Metropolitan Police when he tried to meet "Caitlin", an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl - Credit: Hertfordshire Constabulary

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is set to look into the case of an officer who tried to meet a 13-year-old "girl" for sex.

Detective Constable Francois Olwage, from Stevenage, was found guilty of three child sex offences at Winchester Crown Court today (Thursday, April 14).

Francois Olwage's bag contained Durex condoms, Wilko "Feel Me" lubricant and Tadalafil erectile disfunction tablets

Francois Olwage's bag contained Durex condoms, Wilko "Feel Me" lubricant and Tadalafil erectile disfunction tablets when he went to meet a "13-year-old girl" in Hampshire - Credit: Hertfordshire Constabulary

The 52-year-old had previously admitted to "improper exercise" of his position as an officer in the Metropolitan Police's specialist operations unit.

His employer referred the case to the IOPC following today's verdict.

Detective Chief Superintendent Donna Smith, of the Met Police, said: "These are appalling crimes, and the fact that these crimes were committed by a police officer makes them all the more deplorable.

"It goes without saying that officers who behave like Olwage have no place in the Metropolitan Police Service.

"His offending is deeply disturbing and shocking, and he has now rightly been brought to justice thanks to an investigation by colleagues from Hertfordshire Police."

The London force added that Olwage was suspended from duties following his arrest in October 2021.

Olwage was convicted of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity (penetration), and attempting to meet a girl under 16 years of age following grooming.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) warned that grooming is taking place on an "industrial scale" in the UK.

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An NSPCC spokesperson said: "Olwage, with all his professional knowledge of the terrible effects of child sexual abuse, shamefully groomed what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl on an online chat forum.

"Grooming is taking place on an industrial scale with online child sex offences at record levels."

The spokesperson said the NSPCC supports new legislation to outlaw harmful behaviour online.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court reached their guilty verdict after it heard that Olwage travelled to Basingstoke, Hampshire to meet "13-year-old Caitlin", who was actually an undercover police officer.

He was arrested in Hampshire, where police found condoms, a bottle of lubricant and erectile disfunction tablets in his bag.

Olwage denied having any sexual interest in children.

He is due to be sentenced on April 27.