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Betrayal Behind The Badge

The case of Officer Gareth Suffling

By Chelsea RosePublished about a month ago 3 min read
Betrayal Behind The Badge
Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

In a story that caused quite a stir in the quiet streets of Bedfordshire and damaged the reputation of the local police force, Officer Gareth Suffling's fall from grace revealed a tale of blackmail, abuse of power and further eroded public confidence in the authorities.

The story unfolded with what seemed like a run-of-the-mill instance of blackmail. It was March 16, 2017, and an individual, referred to as Mr A, engaged the services of a sex worker on Luton's Sedgwick Road.

Little did Mr A know, his presence had not gone unnoticed. Gareth Suffling, a 35-year-old detective constable, had seen Mr A and took photographs. The following day, Officer Suffling successfully accessed Mr A's address and information through the Police National Computer. 

About a week later, on March 24th, Suffling left a package on Mr A's car windscreen. Inside were a collection of photographs and a written message. The note stated: 

"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 also told the victim not to go to the police and included specific instructions regarding the payment drop-off location, with a deadline of 1:00 pm that very same day. 

Despite the cautionary advice, Mr A disregarded it and proceeded to inform the authorities about the blackmail. Upon the report, the Major Crime Unit got involved, and they set up an undercover operation where Mr A followed instructions to drop off the money, but the blackmailer failed to show up.

Ironically, Suffling was involved in the surveillance team, monitoring the location where the £1,000 was being dropped off and essentially acting as a detective in his own criminal activity.

The Major Crime Unit was perplexed by the absence of the blackmailer when it came time to collect the money. They couldn't help but wonder how he had managed to be tipped off about the operation. It suddenly occurred to them that the blackmailer might actually be one of their own detectives.

The team began to dig deeper.

His colleagues from Bedfordshire Police Serious Organised Crime Unit recalled Suffling's anxious behaviour during the operation, constant glances at his mobile phone, and excessive consumption of water.

Further suspicion fell on Suffling when investigators discovered that it was Suffling who had access the Police National Computer to obtain Mr A's information. Suffling would claim that Mr A's car had been driven dangerously on the day, however, dangerous driving inquiries would not normally be carried out by his unit.

Image courtesy of @bedspolice via X

Subsequently, he was apprehended and taken to a police station in Cambridgeshire. During the search of his house, investigators discovered a torn-up draft of the blackmail letter and copies of the photos he had sent with it. CCTV would also capture Suffling's vehicle near Mr A's house on the day the blackmail letter was received. 

So how had Suffling managed to find his victim? 

During court proceedings, it was revealed that Suffling had visited the Adult Works website and contacted a sex worker who was operating from a motor home in Sedgewick Road, Luton. On March 16, 2017, Suffling reached out to the sex worker and asked about her availability for that day.

You see, Suffling was experiencing some financial troubles and decided to set up camp near the motor home of a sex worker, seemingly on the lookout for a potential target.

Suffling hilariously later stated that his intention was not to keep the money, but rather to assist a woman in the sex industry who was struggling with substance abuse, although he had not yet found her. According to him, his personal financial situation had no impact on the crime.

Suffling faced the consequences of his actions and ended up being arrested, charged, and ultimately terminated from Bedfordshire Police due to grave allegations of misconduct. He was ultimately convicted and received a prison sentence of 18 months, which was later extended to three years following an appeal.


About the Creator

Chelsea Rose

I never met a problem I couldn't make worst.

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    Chelsea RoseWritten by Chelsea Rose

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