Police chief condemns ‘lenient’ sentence given to ex-officer for indecent images

A chief constable has criticised the “too lenient” suspended sentence handed to a former police inspector who admitted making hundreds of indecent images of children.

Ex-West Midlands Police officer Lee Bartram was given a suspended jail term on Thursday after committing misconduct in public office by filming a young boy while on duty.

The 44-year-old was sacked by the force last September at a special case hearing after more than 450 images were found on electronic devices seized from his home.

Lee Bartram
Lee Bartram

In a statement issued by West Midlands Police on Friday, Chief Constable Dave Thompson called for the sentence to be reviewed.

He said: “Lee Bartram was yesterday sentenced to 16 months in jail, suspended for two years, having been convicted of possessing indecent images of children and misconduct in a public office.

“The public expect the protection of the police and do not expect officers to break the law.

“This case is very serious and the sentence, in my view, is too lenient for such crimes.

“West Midlands Police officers are today discussing the sentencing decision with the Crown Prosecution Service and the subject of an appeal against his sentence.”

The area’s Police and Crime Commissioner is also working with the Home Office to obtain permission to withhold Bartram’s pension.

The disgraced inspector, of Bustleholme Lane, West Bromwich, admitted misconduct in public office, eight charges of making indecent images and two of distributing them.

.@DaveThompsonCC has also confirmed that the process to strip Bartram of his police pension has begun.

— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) February 15, 2019

He was also made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order after uploading illegal pictures to the Tumblr photo sharing website, leading to his arrest on August 13 last year.

Officers then searched his home and recovered computer equipment.

Bartram was released on bail while the investigation continued but officers re-arrested him on August 15 when an examination of his iPhone and iPad uncovered further images.

One showed a boy thought to be aged eight or nine walking through Birmingham city centre, filmed by Bartram while he was on duty.