A former student police officer has been jailed for sending sexual messages and explicit images of himself to a nine-year-old girl.
Jason Hicks, 31, was in training to be an officer with Devon and Cornwall Police at the time the offences were uncovered, the force said.
He was immediately arrested, suspended and subsequently dismissed without notice.
Officers found more than 1,200 images and videos of children on his laptop, iPad and other digital devices which were seized when a warrant was carried out at his home, the force said.
In his police interview, Hicks, of Bishopsteignton, Devon, admitted offences dating back to 2012 and later pleaded guilty to a total of 13 charges.
He was jailed for four years with a three year extended licence at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, according to Devon and Cornwall Police.
A force spokeswoman said: “Hicks admitted engaging in sexual communication with a child – a nine-year-old girl from the South West – and inciting her to engage in sexual activity between March and April 2021.
“He had befriended the girl online by posing as an older teenager on TikTok before moving on to Snapchat and exchanging sexually explicit messages with her.
“The child’s parents discovered she had been communicating with an adult male and contacted police in their area.”
The force added that Hicks, who was made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, has been placed on the College of Policing Barred List.
It said Hicks had exchanged Snapchat messages with four children he believed were aged between 11 and 13 between December 2021 and January 2022.
The victims have not been identified but analysis linked their IP addresses to the USA, Sweden and the Yorkshire area.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Parker said: “All police officers, including those in training, have a privileged role in being part of a force responsible for the safeguarding of vulnerable people.
“The actions of Jason Hicks were wholly wrong and illegal and he now faces the consequences of that.”
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