A man has been arrested after allegedly pretending to be a police officer in order to kidnap and search a teenage girl.
The incident reportedly took place in the Three Bridges area of Crawley at around 8.00am on Wednesday, October 13. The 14-year-old girl was walking to school when she was stopped by a man posing as a police officer, who led her away from the street and ‘searched her clothing’ before fleeing the scene on a bike.
The unnamed teen was unharmed and has been receiving support from local police. The 32-year-old man who was arrested a day later also hasn’t been named.
‘We understand that this arrest will impact communities. The girl is safe and unharmed and is receiving support from officers, working with her family,’ Sussex Police Superintendent Marc Clothier said, as per Metro.
‘We want to reassure people we have not received any similar reports at this time and there is no current risk to anyone in the community in relation to this case. You will see more uniformed patrols in the area and we encourage you to stop and talk to us if you have any concerns.’
Sussex Police also gave advice to those who feel unsafe around someone claiming to be a police officer. ‘Officers can use their police radio on loudspeaker to talk to the operator in the police control room. The operator can confirm the identity of the officer, that they are on duty and carrying out legitimate policing business,’ a spokesperson said, adding people could also ask a passer-by for assistance.
If you don’t trust someone who says they’re a police officer, the official guidance is ‘shouting out to a passer-by, running into a house, knocking on a door, waving a bus down or if you are in the position to do so calling 999’.
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