A man has been charged with sexual offences after allegedly kidnapping a teenage girl while impersonating a police officer.
David Peter Young, 32, a chef from Ifield, is due to appear at Brighton magistrates court on Saturday.
Young is charged with kidnap with intent to commit a sexual offence, kidnap, impersonating a police officer and two breaches of a sexual harm prevention order over the incident, which allegedly happened on Wednesday morning.
According to Sussex police, a 14-year-old girl was approached on her way to school in the Three Bridges area in Crawley, West Sussex, by a man wearing a yellow hi-vis jacket. He took her to a nearby area away from the road and searched her clothing, before leaving the scene on a bicycle.
The girl was unharmed and is receiving support.
Since Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan police officer, used police powers and equipment in his kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, there have been concerns over women being approached by lone policemen.
Sussex police superintendent Marc Clothier said there would be more uniformed patrols in the area in the incident’s aftermath, and he encouraged members of the public to speak to officers.
He added: “We understand some people may want additional reassurance when interacting with a lone police officer and when you are alone.
“If this is the case, genuine officers can use their police radio on loud speaker 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.
“You can also ask a passerby to observe. Off-duty officers intervening in a crime in action or where someone is vulnerable, and not carrying a radio, will quickly call 999 for backup.”