Metropolitan Police officers suspended for corruption

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Media captionAli Dizaei and Simon Harwood have been dismissed from the force

Nearly 50 Metropolitan Police officers have been suspended for corruption in three years, figures show.

Of the 258 officers suspended for offences also including sexual assault, neglect and assault, 38% of cases were proven and 11% of officers were sacked.

The officers were paid about £3.6m during their suspensions.

A lawyer who handles complaints against the police has called the figures "shocking". The Met said it aimed to investigate allegations "quickly".

Police officers and staff can only be suspended if they are likely to interfere with the course of an investigation or if it is the public interest.

As such, most suspensions occur when an officer is subject to a serious criminal investigation or a serious internal misconduct investigation.

Stolen goods

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show the number of officers suspended on full pay for three years between 2009-11.

Nearly half of those suspended were special constables, who are unpaid.

Although the specifics of each case has not been revealed, the Met said some instances of corruption included handling stolen goods and fraudulent overtime claims.

One of the most high profile cases is that of Ali Dizaei, a commander who was dismissed after he was jailed for misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.

Another is PC Simon Harwood who was recently sacked for gross misconduct after he was found guilty of breaching standards in connection with Ian Tomlinson's death at the G20 protests.

He was initially suspended from duty in 2011.

Others suspended include: Gareth Beard who was found guilty of fraud; Philip Juhasz who was sacked for racially abusing the manager of a snack kiosk at King's Cross railway station; Det Con Daren Pooley who was jailed for defrauding the force after he overcharged for rented apartments, and David Price who was found guilty of growing cannabis.

The BBC has also obtained figures which show 372 police staff were suspended between 2009-2011.

'Delayed justice'

The figures do not include those officers who have been arrested and suspended as part of Operation Elveden, the inquiry into alleged payments to officers from journalists, as these arrests have been this year.

Shamik Dutta, a lawyer who handles complaints against police officers, said: "The figures are shocking.

"In my experience when members of the public complain about police officers it is very rare for those officers to be suspended.

"However, even if they are, investigations can take far too long leading to victims of police misconduct suffering delayed justice.

"The figures show that those delays in investigations also result in great cost to the taxpayer where officers are suspended on full pay."

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commision (IPCC) on corruption found the force received 1,487 complaints between 2008 and 2011.

Of those, 345 were referred to the IPCC for investigation.

The IPCC report concluded there had to be clearer information on what constitutes police corruption.

In a statement, the Met said: "Whilst we aim to investigate allegations of misconduct as quickly as possible, the length of an investigation is often determined by the complex nature of some allegations which can be beyond the control of the MPS, as we may need to allow the judicial system or IPCC to complete their proceedings before the force can conclude an investigation.

"While our aim is always to carry out this work in the quickest and most efficient way possible, we also have to ensure investigations are thorough and robust for the benefit of the complainant, the general public, the force as a whole and the officer under investigation."

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