Former Selkirk police officer given supervision order over online paedophile sex boasts

Former Selkirk police officer Ryan Ballard.
Former Selkirk police officer Ryan Ballard.

A former police officer has had his name put on the sex offenders’ register for 12 months for boasting on a social media platform about engaging in sexual activity with a fictitious daughter.

Ryan Ballard claimed to be a father of three after registering on ChatStop and sent several sexually explicit messages to an undercover police officer.

The 51-year-old, said to have resigned from his post as a constable with Police Scotland on Sunday, described himself in his profile as a bisexual married man with sons aged 11 and 15 and a daughter aged nine.

Between May 15 and August 29 last year, he sent numerous chatroom messages to the undercover officer telling of inappropriate behaviour towards the girl and what he had done sexually with her.

Selkirk Sheriff Court was told that although Ballard was married at the time, he had no children, however.

The undercover officer, working for England’s south east regional crime unit, reported the matter to Police Scotland’s internet investigations unit, and Ballard was suspended on August 31 after being charged.

Ballard, of Selkirk, has since split from his wife and is now in a new relationship with a man, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of sending offensive and explicit messages about sexual activity with both older and younger children over the course of three months.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said: “This was not an isolated incident. There were two separate episodes in which he made these communications.”

Defence lawyer Lynn Beaumont said her client was a first offender and presented only a low risk of reoffending, adding that he no longer uses the internet.

She said: “He stays with his family in the attic and is isolated. He has lost many friends and colleagues as a result of this offence and the ability to integrate with others. He is disgusted by his behaviour.”

Sheriff Donald Corke said: “It seems to me there is a significant sexual element to the charge.”

He said he accepted Ballard had lost a responsible job, though, and had suffered socially.

It was fortunate no actual children were involved, he told Ballard.

The sheriff imposed a 12-month community payback order with supervision involving monitoring of any internet access.

In addition, Ballard will be subject to sex offence notification requirements for the next year.