Essex Police misconduct allegations revealed by PCC

  • 27 November 2013
  • From the section Essex
Nick Alston
Image caption PCC Nick Alston said some of the allegations against officers were of "deep concern" but that the level of complaints was "broadly similar" to other forces

A string of allegations including rape and sexual assaults have been made against police staff, it has emerged.

Dossiers outlining allegations of misconduct and complaints were released by Essex's Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston.

He said some of the matters were of "deep concern". The police said public confidence in the force was "vital".

Some of the allegations are still under investigation, some disproved and others have been heard by the courts.

Between 1 October 2012 and 30 September this year, 852 complaints against the force were "finalised". Of these, 9.5% were upheld.

'Stamped on hand'

Conservative Mr Alston, who was elected as the PCC a year ago, announced last month that he was creating an ethics and integrity committee, and had asked for quarterly reports detailing complaints against officers and civilian staff.

He has released these reports after a BBC Freedom of Information request.

Mr Alston said the volume of cases was "broadly similar to that in other police forces".

The four reports, with names and other details redacted, date from October 2012 and reveal the following:

  • An officer was investigated over an allegation of rape. No criminal inquiry but possible disciplinary action could follow;
  • An officer was interviewed on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office for allegedly failing to carry out a proper rape investigation. The officer resigned;
  • Possession of indecent images of children. No criminal action but misconduct probe ongoing;
  • During arrest, one man's false teeth fell out and as he reached out to grab them an officer allegedly stamped on his hand, breaking at least one finger;
  • Two PCs faced management action for "irregularity of evidence/perjury" and there were three cases of "improper disclosure of information", the reports show;
  • Sending emails containing obscene images to colleagues;
  • An officer was suspended after contacting, through Facebook, a woman he met on a call-out for a domestic dispute, using three different names, meeting her three times and sending "sexual" texts and a photograph. He was subsequently sacked;
  • A man in custody was passed "fit for detention" on the condition a risk assessment was carried out on his release, but it was "overlooked" and the man was later found hanged.
Image caption A total of 852 complaints against the force were "finalised", of which 9.5% were upheld

'Rogue individuals'

Police are also alleged to have entered a house unlawfully, its occupant sustaining a broken wrist and head injuries. The occupant was subsequently charged with assaulting a police officer but acquitted.

A gross misconduct investigation was carried out into a claim of persistent bullying and sexual harassment involving a line manager.

Other allegations include discrepancies in records relating to firearms, "inappropriate touching/contact" at work, and an officer using a warrant card to cash a cheque.

One officer allegedly tried to kiss a female detainee.

A police spokesman said: "The vast majority of officers and staff are professional and act with honesty and integrity but the force is very aware that the actions of rogue individuals can impact greatly on how it is viewed.

"For this reason the force aims to deal robustly with any allegations of misconduct and ensure that they are fully investigated, that appropriate action is taken and lessons are learned."

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