Nearly 50 Metropolitan police officers and 26 staff members have been suspended for alleged corruption in the past two years, figures show.
3 MARCH 2015 | BY Josephine McDermott FOR BBC NEWS
The Met said suspensions did not imply guilt, but all allegations were “taken extremely seriously”.
The revelation follows a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which warns “the threat to the Met of corrupt activity remains significant”.
HMIC’s January report said in the financial year from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, the Met’s Department of Professional Standards carried out 419 investigations into reports of behaviour that HMIC considered were likely to involve corruption.
They included allegations of drug-related offences, bribery, theft, fraud, dishonesty, sexual misconduct and unauthorised information disclosure.
These investigations resulted in 69 officers and staff members being dismissed, retiring or resigning, it said.
The Met’s figures show in that year, 27 officers and 13 police staff members were suspended during corruption probes.
Meanwhile, of a total of 222 officers suspended (from a workforce of 31,852) between April 2012 and March 2014, the second most common reason was neglect or failure in duty, 39 (18%), followed by assault, 25 (11%).
Seventy-seven percent of the 47 officers suspended over two years for alleged corruption were specials or constables.
But in January, former Ealing borough commander Det Ch Supt Andy Rowell was sacked for giving details of a “sensitive” police investigation to a journalist, though criminal proceedings against him were dropped.
And in 2013 Det Ch Insp April Casburn was jailed for 15 months for offering to sell information to the News of the World newspaper.
HMIC’s report said while corruption in the force had previously involved “pockets of officers in specialist squads who had corrupt associations with criminals”, today the Directorate of Professional Standards considers the biggest threat to be “exploitation of staff through inappropriate relationships with journalists, private investigators and criminals”.
The report said: “Members of the Met workforce continue to be investigated, arrested and convicted for serious criminality and improper disclosure of information.
“The threat to the Met of corrupt activity remains significant.”
Recently dismissed officers:
- Paul Randall, 49, given a suspended jail sentence for selling a story to The Sun about Naomi Campbell
- PC Gary Leaper, 42, commended in 2011, but sentenced to nine months for stealing £300 handed in to Fulham Police Station
- Westminster PC James Kiddie, 46, found guilty of common assault on a shoplifting suspect in Regent Street
- Det Con Ian Payne, 45, of Hammersmith and Fulham Police who admitted possession of cocaine
- Specialist Operations PC James Addison, 38, ordered to pay £5,000 for publishing 11 obscene videos
Officers suspended and awaiting trial include:
- Kingston PC Peter Ba Han, 52, charged with 15 counts of making an indecent image of a child. He appears at Southwark Crown Court in May
- Merton PC Irshad Kamal, 44, who appears at Southwark Crown Court on 19 March charged with sexually touching a woman aged 16 or over and harassment
- Safer Transport Sgt Demetrios Orros, 50, charged with three counts of sexually touching a woman aged 16 or over at a north London police station
Officers suspended and convicted include:
- PC Jack McGillivray, 24, a probationary officer, convicted of publishing an extreme pornographic image showing bestiality. He resigned
- PCSO Glynn Rogers, 52, who admitted stealing a wallet containing £2,450 which was handed in to him while on duty at Heathrow Airport
Complaints statistics show there were 12,502 allegations reported to the Independent Complaints Commission in 2012/13 and 11,542 in 2013/14.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill going through parliament will introduce a new offence of corrupt or other improper exercise of police powers and privileges.
This amendment was brought forward by Home Secretary Theresa May responding to the findings of Mark Ellison QC in relation to the Stephen Lawrence Independent Review.
Last year, Mrs May told MPs possible links with the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan, a private investigator who was found with an axe in his head in a south London car park in 1987, and an allegedly corrupt police officer had been uncovered in the Ellison Report.
Solicitor Raju Bhatt, who acts for Mr Morgan’s family and other complainants against the police, said: “The routine case that we see is where police officers have perhaps been over-zealous, overstepped the mark and, after the event, abused their power to try to cover up that initial wrongdoing.
“That’s something we see very routinely but that’s not classed as corruption.”
He said he believed the Met should do more to tackle corruption among higher ranking officers, claiming: “Instead of looking where the real problem is, it’s easier to look at the small fry.”
A Met spokesman said the force “expects a high level of conduct and behaviour from officers and staff and any breaches of these standards will be dealt with”.
“The number of police officers suspended represents a very small percentage of the police officers and members of police staff employed by the Met.”