A police officer who oversaw a volunteer police cadet program has been found guilty by a jury of sexual offenses and misconduct in a public position.
Adnan Ali, of Old Trafford, Manchester, allegedly exploited the training program as a “playground for grooming,” according to testimony at his trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
Ali, 36, a father of one who worked for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), had first rejected the charges, but on Monday, the agency announced that he had been found guilty of five counts of sexual assault and fifteen counts of misconduct in a public office.
The charges relate to incidents, between 2015 and 2018, involving young men and women enrolled on GMP’s volunteer police cadet scheme, the force said.
The court heard Ali was arrested and suspended in October 2018 after the force received a complaint that he had been behaving inappropriately towards a 16-year-old boy.
After his arrest, electronic devices were seized and, during the police investigation that followed, officers uncovered thousands of messages and identified additional victims, whose evidence was used to secure the charges which were authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service in July 2021.
Ali will be sentenced at a later date.
He has already been dismissed from his job and barred from policing when gross misconduct was found proved by GMP in April 2022.
So as to not prejudice criminal proceedings, the misconduct hearing was held in private and the outcome could not be published until after Ali’s trial.
Following the conviction, the force will be making representations to the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Kate Green that Ali should be ordered to forfeit his work pension, GMP said.
Assistant Chief Constable Colin McFarlane, of GMP, said: ‘Whilst Ali is responsible for committing these crimes, no-one should be subjected to crime or misconduct during their contact with police officers and staff, like these young people were – for that, and in acknowledgement that Ali could have been better supervised and managed, we are sorry.
‘My thanks go to the victims and witnesses who bravely supported the prosecution which secured today’s verdict.
‘Though trials are a fundamental part of the criminal justice system, the impact they can have on those involved and with whom cases resonate is not underestimated. We will ensure they are supported for as long as they need.
‘Alongside the criminal and misconduct investigations, this case initiated a full review of GMP’s volunteer police cadet scheme.
‘With national oversight, improvements have been and are continuing to be implemented to ensure cadet leaders are the role models they are expected to be and that they do not pose a risk to anyone.’
Head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch Chief Superintendent Mike Allen said: ‘Today’s verdict will do nothing to ease the public’s concerns about police misconduct.
‘However, Ali represents the very worst and the minority in policing – he is among a very small percentage who discredit the police service and undermine trust and confidence in it.
‘These individuals are being rooted and booted out by exemplary colleagues reporting their behaviour, investigating allegations, building cases against them, and playing a crucial role in proceedings to ensure they face the full force of the criminal justice system, and have the many privileges of working in policing taken from them.
‘Following national direction to all forces, the force vetting unit is currently re-vetting all GMP officers and staff to ensure those who are wearing the force uniform and that those who have applied to do so are fit to serve the public.
‘However, efforts don’t stop there. Whilst the assessment teams review complaints and allegations, the investigation teams and misconduct proceedings unit work together to secure the best criminal and misconduct outcomes, as a covert unit work undercover amongst the workforce to stop corrupt officers and staff in their tracks.’
Sexualised messages were found on PC Ali’s mobile phone, and a number of those who came forward reported being sexually assaulted by the officer, the trial heard.
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) regional director Catherine Bates said: “Ali’s disgraceful behaviour has had a significant impact on his victims and has absolutely no place in policing.
‘The investigation also highlighted serious failings in the way cadet schemes were being managed by GMP and we welcome a range of steps taken by the force since these offences were discovered to improve supervision of the officers entrusted with this level of responsibility.’
A spokesman for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said: ‘From his training with the police service, Ali would have been very aware of the devastating effects sexual abuse can have on young people.
‘We would encourage anyone who has experienced abuse to speak out and seek support, no matter when it happened or who the perpetrator was.
‘Adults can speak to the NSPCC helpline and anyone under 18 can talk to our Childline counsellors.’
Ali will be sentenced on June 23.