Police forces confess 944 officers have a criminal record

Police forces confess 944 officers have a criminal record (link)

Freedom of information requests reveal police with convictions ranging from burglary to perverting the course of justice

I’m aghast and quite disturbed to read this. Can it be true?  I’m aware that the Police are not perfect, and some of the “crimes” seem quite minor, but nevertheless, this sounds somewhat alarming!

Generally speaking, I have always considered the Police to be hard-working and essentially honest, with a difficult job to do.

They did not cover themselves in glory during the recent riots, and generally they seem overwhelmed by paper-work and targets, unable to respond to burglaries and overzealous in persecuting motorists (an easy target perhaps) but I do find this quite unbelievable

31 thoughts on “Police forces confess 944 officers have a criminal record”

  1. Ara: Seems like an astonishingly small number to me. I think the police force in the UK is about 150,000 officers, this would represent well under 1% of the total and must be a far lower percentage of criminals than the general population. I would think the percentage of criminals in the two Houses of Parliament would also make this percentage number seem insignificant.

  2. The appalling thing, LW, is not the absolute numbers, but the fact that they are still employed as warrant holders. Completely wrong, and indicative of corruption (or incompetence) amongst their bosses.

  3. Hi LW. Yes, agreed the percentage is small, but why should anyone with such a record be allowed to serve?

    Teachers and even parents who help in schools have to be vetted these days, so I would have imagined that it should be unacceptable that anyone with a criminal record should be enforcing the law.

  4. I see we think the same on this and have overlapped, Araminta.

    I hope Cuprum looks in to give us his professional opinion.

  5. It is shocking, considering how anyone with a record is prohibited from various roles. Surely this should apply to the law enforcers as well?

    It would be interesting to know what sort of crimes these included however… for example an accidental parking violation hardly carries the same weight as theft.

  6. I’m rather hoping he might, Bearsy. It would appear that it is only the Guardian who have published this so far. I would be more than happy for it not to be the whole story, or a distortion of the facts.

  7. “but the records also include a South Yorkshire police officer convicted of fishing without a license” —-

  8. Ah, thank you, Bearsy. I did a quick Google before hitting the publish button, but couldn’t find any other reports, other than those referring to the Guardian article.

  9. It vaguely doesn’t surprise me, in the 70s I went out with someone from the flying squad for sometime. From what I saw it was pretty obvious they weren’t much better than those they chased.
    I also saw a few too much casual violence from the police in London and the home counties, not towards me, but in other situations.
    On a personal level I carefully and quietly withdrew.
    I also know how much arse I had to kick in Wales to get satisfaction various times.
    No, it really does not surprise me at all.

  10. You know what, I can’t help feeling that this is not as bad a situation as some are making out. These officers have been convicted of crimes for which they have subsequently been punished. Whether punishment be a fine or a suspended sentence, or community service, or a term in prison. As such, they should be welcomed back into society as responsible members on equal footing with others save that previous convictions will be taken into account should they step out of line in the future.

    If we as a society do not offer convicts the opportunity to redeem themselves or be redeemed, it negates the validity of our legal justice system. By serving a sentence imposed by the courts, the criminal must surely be deemed to have fulfilled his obligations to the community.

    The difference between many convicts and other members of society is that the former were caught. I am sure we all know of otherwise respectable people who have at some time or other driven while under the influence of alcohol, have consumed illicit drugs, who in their youth perhaps shop-lifted a few items from a super market, have not paid their TV licence, have fished without a permit, have dodged a tube or rail ticket, have assaulted another person in a bar room brawl, have used racially abusive language, have discriminated against others based on race, sex, sexual orientation or religion, or have made a dubious call on their expenses or tax returns etc etc. We do not automatically write them off, especially if we know that these events are exceptional in their lives rather than the rule. I am willing to bet that the majority of the population has at some time or other committed an act that would potentially have earned them a criminal conviction. I know that I have, even though I have a clean sheet.

    There is a difference between somebody who has been convicted of a crime, the commission of which they regret, and somebody who is a habitual criminal. There is also a difference between the various crimes that have been committed.

    If society does not offer the chance of redemption to those who have screwed up, what would be the point of their trying to re-enter society? They may as well make the most of their pariah status and keep breaking the law. By joining the police force, an individual with a criminal conviction is saying, I would hope, ‘I would like to help society rather than undermine it’.

  11. Over the holidays I heard about a local PC around here who has clearly not heard about Cæsar’s wife. He allegedly holds adult porn parties and has arranged for his wife and children to be registered at a separate address so that they can receive welfare. Last week he reported a ‘burglary’ at his own address which shows signs of being an insurance scam. He didn’t want his colleagues to investigate it, just to provide a case number.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  12. Makes me wonder how many of the UK Border Force have criminal convictions. By the way these guys behave (as seen on TV) I should think a criminal record is a pre-requisite. In my view many of them are uneducated thugs.

  13. Pseu – “Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion” [and various other similar wordings].

    Sorry to be obscure. For my meaning, please read my comment #2 and Araminta’s #3.

  14. A few points if I may:

    The figures do include I believe, those useless cheap things called PCSOs (thanks Blunkett, wish you’d never bothered) who aren’t worthy of mention anyway

    Yes, the figures are less than 1%, but that misses the whole point. The police should be above reproach and be judged to a higher standard than Joe Public, primarily to keep the confidence of the people they serve. The basic premise of the British police is that it is done with the consent of the public, and that is unlike anywhere else in the world.

    The stupid wishy washy New Labour decided in the late 90’s to lower the entrance standards to become a rozzer (no longer were basic O’Levels/GCSEs required) to be ‘more inclusive’ – we all know what that really means.
    At the same time the need for a clean criminal record was removed – minor offences such as common assault and public order and criminal damage offences were ‘acceptable’. Absurd, sad and embarrassing.

    Once a copper, being convicted of a criminal offence was, and still is, more than likely to get you the sack. Officers are subject to the discipline regulations after criminal cases, and even now, it invariably means the sack for bringing the force into disrepute. For some odd reason drink driving seems to be dealt with differently by different forces. Some sack by default, some don’t. A problem of having 43 different forces I guess.

    Christina – most of those flying squad days are gone, especially with the advent of the PACE (1984) legislation – most Western countries including Aus, NZ, SA and the US still aspire to it – however there are of course some renegade dinosaur coppers out there.

    So – blame the pollies. The vast majority of coppers I know accept that they should behave at a higher standard. Any of them with records are shunned by their peers on the whole. Most are those received before they became servants of the crown.

  15. Many thanks for that, Cuprum. Your views on this matter are much appreciated. I had no idea that a clean record was no longer an entry requirement for the Police. This would explain the these figures, and yes, I think the totals do include PCSOs.

    I absolutely agree that the police should be above reproach.

  16. Hi Sipu.

    Sorry, I was called away and haven’t managed to even acknowledge the other comments.

    I think your comment very valid, I agree with you about paying one’s debt to society. It’s just that I don’t think they should be eligible to join the Police, for the reasons that Cuprum has mentioned.

    As for there but for the grace of god and etc with regard to most of flouting the law at some point, you are undoubtedly right, but then I didn’t get caught either! Had I been, I wouldn’t have expected to be welcome to join the Police. But some of the crimes on the list are rather more serious; perverting the course of justice, burglary, assault, criminal damage and etc.

    Agh, I’m having a spot of bother trying to string a sentence together here; it’s chaos domestically.

    In conclusion, your argument was well put, and normally I would agree with you, but not with regard to the Police.

  17. We are having storms and lashing rain. Trees coming down quite close to our boundary fence but luckily missed. I’m a bit worried about roof slates and chimneys too. 😦

  18. thank you Bearsy for the explanation. I did only a couple of very rudimentary years of Latin with a teacher who called my Ruby.

  19. (should have said ‘called me Ruby’… not ‘my Ruby’) – because I blushed easily and he constantly embarrassed me, which somehow seemed to reduce my learning capacity in his lessons….

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