21 January 2012
UP TO 38 HAMPSHIRE POLICE OFFICERS HAVE CRIMINAL RECORD
By Julie Cordier
WINOL can exclusively reveal that up to 38 serving officers in the Hampshire police force have criminal convictions.
Documents released under the freedom of information act show that two officers were previously convicted for possession of an offensive weapon, one of possessing ammunition they weren't entitled to have and one of causing ABH.
Our investigation centred on the number of police officers who have engaged in crimes involving violence and dishonesty. None of the individual offenders can be named.
Fifteen officers have been previously convicted for offences including theft, forging and using official documents, driving without a license and driving with no insurance.
Three officers have also been convicted of crimes related to drinking and one of possessing a cannabis plant.
Hampshire Police have responded quickly to the news saying: "Hampshire Constabulary is committed to providing an excellent service and therefore sets and expects high standards from all its police officers and police staff.
"Any allegation of a criminal offence committed by an employee is treated very seriously and our Professional Standards Department will investigate to bring offenders to justice and ensure we maintain those standards.
"A police officer convicted of a criminal offence may also face misconduct proceedings in line with the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008.
"Each case is dealt with individually and can result in dismissal, a final written warning, a written warning or management advice.
"We operate stringent vetting procedures and the requirement for applicants to the police service to disclose spent convictions is greater than that for applicants to other organisations. The vast majority of people who want to work for us disclose any previous convictions voluntarily.
"The decision whether or not to dismiss a serving officer or refuse employment to an applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis depending on individual merits and circumstances, the level of risk their conviction poses and how that risk can be managed.
"An officer would have to further disclose any convictions to the Crown Prosecution Service when they become involved in a prosecution case.
"Many of the minority of officers currently serving with convictions relate to offences committed before they were employed by the force, and most of those convictions are prior to 2000.
"Their convictions do not preclude them from employment with the police and their convictions do not hinder the work they do in serving our communities."
Despite this, readers will be shocked that so many of the people we depend on to uphold the law were themselves once law breakers.
Below is the full detail of the freedom of information request:
Criminal Damage: 1
Making false instrument: 1
Using false instrument: 1
Taking m/v without consent: 1
Threatening behaviour: 1
Possession of Off Weapon: 2
Drunk and Disorderly: 1
Breach of the Peace: 1
Common Assault: 2
Excess Alcohol: 3
Joint take m/v without consent: 1
No Insurance: 1
Under Age Driving: 1
Criminal Damage: 4
Disclose personal data on PNC: 1
Possess cannabis plant:1
Possess excess ammunition:1
This story was later followed up by the Daily Telegraph who ran the story on a national scale.