Douglas Macdonald: CPS explain why South Yorkshire cop who had 'relationship' with teen was not prosecuted

A South Yorkshire Police officer was found to have behaved in a way amounting to "gross misconduct" at his misconduct hearing, but the CPS chose not to prosecute.
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During a misconduct hearing this month, it emerged that Douglas Macdonald, aged 37, exchanged sexual and nude photographs with a 14-year-old and showed her "forceful" pornography after he first communicated with her online in May 2017.

He posed as a modelling agent on Instagram to approach children online, and engaged in a two-year online sexual 'relationship' with the child.

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The girl, referred to as 'Miss A' during the hearing, was vulnerable, unhappy at school and had a background of self-harming when the pair began communicating.

It was claimed the ex-cop, who resigned in December 2022, had an "established process" he deployed to make contact with children, where he set up Instagram pages which purported to be modelling pages.

Having drawn them in, he moved the conversation over to Snapchat because he felt it provided "a more secure platform from which he (could) have conversations with children and adolescents," the miscinduct hearing was told.

Nine allegations were proven and found to have amounted to 'gross misconduct' at the hearing.

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The misconduct panel's decision was that if Macdonald had still been serving, he would have been dismissed. His details have now been added to the College of Policing's 'barred' list.

A CPS spokesperson said: "We take all allegations of sexual communication with a child seriously and do not underestimate the courage it takes to make a report to the police. We will always prosecute when the evidence provides a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to do so, in line with our legal test.

"In this case we considered the evidence referred to us by South Yorkshire Police and concluded it did not meet our legal test for a prosecution.

"After the complainant asked for a further review, a prosecutor with no previous knowledge of the case carefully examined all the evidence available and came to the same decision. We sent the complainant a letter setting out our reasons in December 2021."

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Macdonald was alleged to have a "clear sexual interest" in children and adolescents, with almost 1,000 images of young girls in bikinis or underwear found on his Instagram cache upon his arrest in November 2020.

Throughout the period when he and Miss A were in contact - May 2017 until August 2019 - Macdonald was between the ages of 30 and 32, and Miss A between 14 and 16.

At the age of 16, Miss A reported Macdonald to Crimestoppers.

He resigned from South Yorkshire Police on December 31, 2022, after eight years of service with the force.