Metropolitan Police corruption suspensions near 50 over two years

By Josephine McDermott
BBC News

image copyrightPA
image captionCounter-terrorism officer April Casburn was convicted of misconduct in public office

Nearly 50 Metropolitan police officers and 26 staff members have been suspended for alleged corruption in the past two years, figures show.

Of the 47 officers, eleven were convicted, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

A total of 222 officers were suspended between 2012 and 2014, with alleged corruption cited as the main reason.

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".

Officers dismissed

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:

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
image copyrightNeumans
image captionJames Kiddie was already the subject of two previous substantiated complaints when he was convicted

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.

'Small fry'

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."

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