James Ford appeared before the Peterborough Magistrate's Court on Monday where he was charged with a series of deeply concerning offences of rape and sexual assault of a minor.

The 30-year old police officer based in East Hertfordshire allegedly raped and sexually molested young girls. He was charged with a "number of serious child sexual abuse offences." He was arrested following an independent investigation carried out by officers in Cambridgeshire Constabulary's Public Protection Unit.

A statement from the Hertfordshire Constabulary revealed that Ford was charged with assault of a girl under 13 by touching, assault of a girl under 13 by penetration, two charges of rape of a girl aged under 13, and a final charge of committing an act or series of acts to pervert the course of justice.

He reportedly only had two years of service with the force before he was suspended on Oct. 22. He was released on bail on Monday and is expected to attend a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 29 at the Cambridge Crown Court.

Deputy Chief Constable Bill Jephson said he is "deeply concerned that a serving Hertfordshire officer has been charged with such serious offences." He refused to say anything more on the case and said he will let the legal proceedings dictate what happens to the officer next.

"I also fully recognise that members of the public will also be concerned by this news; however we now need to let criminal proceedings take place and avoid any speculation that could impede the case as it progresses through the court system," Jephson said.

Charges against Ford came after the police carried out criminal background investigations on people in the police force following the death of Sarah Everard, who was raped and killed by Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens. It is said that 26 colleagues of Couzens committed sexual offenses including voyeurism, rape, and possession of indecent images of children.

Two of them have since been jailed: Detective Constable Mark Collins, 58, and Detective Constable Paul Allgood, 60. Collins is booked in prison for 26 months for sending "highly sexualised" messages to a 13-year-old girl. Meanwhile, Allgood is serving 22 months in prison for three counts of outraging public decency and three charges of possession of indecent images of children.

Crime scene
Crime representation. Photo: Pixabay