Shocking 62% rise in police officers being investigated for corruption with eight out of ten accused of illegally disclosing information
Anti-corruption units are facing a workload of 245 cases every month
03:10 GMT, 23 December 2012
Record numbers of police officers are being investigated for corruption, a report into police integrity has found.
Anti-corruption units across the country are wrestling with a workload of 245 cases every month – a rise of 62 per cent from the year before.
Most of the investigations – eight out of ten – involve officers accused of illegally disclosing information to criminals and third parties.
Internal affairs: Record numbers of police officers are being investigated for corruption, a report into police integrity has found
The remainder relate to other serious allegations of corruption, including bribery.
The findings have been released by the Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which completed a year-long inquiry last week.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Roger Baker said: ‘High-profile cases of alleged police corruption, other criminal behaviour and misconduct have had a detrimental effect on the reputation of the service.
‘This has implications not only for the effectiveness of police activity in fighting crime, which requires public engagement and involvement based on trust, but also for the very legitimacy of a public service many wish to hold in high regard.’
One of the most high profile cases was Ali Dizaei, a commander dismissed after he was jailed for misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice
According to the Inspectorate, 67 officers under investigation have left the police service through dismissal, retirement or resignation. Some 45 cases have been referred to external bodies for further investigation and 643 officers have been given warnings or advice.
Just over 700 of the 2,207 investigations that took place between September 2011 and May this year were still live.
The Inspectorate said that the rise in corruption cases was partly due to the effects of the nationwide introduction of anti-corruption units in 2006.
Separate Freedom of Information figures show that nearly 50 Metropolitan Police officers were suspended for corruption during the last three years.
One of the most high profile was Ali Dizaei, a commander dismissed after he was jailed for misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice. He has been released and is appealing against the conviction.
Sean Price, chief constable of Cleveland, was sacked in October for gross misconduct and is on bail in a separate criminal investigation for corruption.
In the same month, Sir Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire, had to resign over his alleged role, which he denies, in concocting false information to smear the victims of the Hillsborough football disaster. He remains under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The report recommended a clampdown on the use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
A total of 357 instances of potentially inappropriate comments were identified on sites, spread across 185 profiles, HMIC said.
They featured ‘offensive language, comments on police procedure, negativity towards work and extreme opinions on government’.
This year, a Nottinghamshire officer was disciplined after posting obscene racist abuse on Facebook about the quality of staff at a call centre in India.
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham of the Association of Chief Police Officers said: ‘This report, in common with other independent analysis from bodies such as the IPCC, confirms that the majority of officers and staff, at all levels, seek to act with integrity.’