Suffolk: Police disciplined but keep their jobs

POLICE officers in Suffolk have been disciplined for homophobia, indecent assault and breaching data protection laws – but still kept their jobs, according to a new report.

In each case, which all happened in the past year, the officer involved received a written warning or a final written warning, the report reveals.

Another incident refers to a police officer “ripping” the headscarf from a detainee after remonstrating with her. They also received a written warning.

Last night, police insisted they expected the highest standards of officers and staff.

Seven officers faced misconduct hearings by Suffolk Constabulary’s professional standards department, according to a report to the police authority’s audit committee.

The report shows that, overall, there was a significant reduction in complaints against Suffolk police. In the first case, involving a homophobic remark and indecent assault, the officer was accused of equality and diversity/discreditable conduct. It is understood the case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service but it was decided not to prosecute.

No further details are available about the nature of the remark, or about the seriousness and setting of the indecent assault.

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The report shows that two other officers received written warnings – in one case for not carrying out his or her duty by failing to arrest a person suspected of violence, in the second case for breaching data protection.

Two other officers were given management advice. One of their cases related to confidentiality through e-mail/Facebook posting. The other failed in their duty on four occasions by not recording/updating an incident.

Three civilian staff also had misconduct hearings last year over breaches of data protection. One was dismissed from the force, but the person involved was not prosecuted.

Another was given a final warning, while the third received ‘management advice’. A total of 14 officers/support staff also resigned during internal investigations. However, overall the committee papers state that complaints to Suffolk Constabulary during the 12-month reduced by 22% year on year.

Lisa McGrann, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Police officers and staff are expected to deliver the highest standards of personal and professional behaviour. These standards reflect the expectations the public have of how officers and staff should behave.

“We take any complaints against our officers and staff very seriously and all evidence is carefully and objectively reviewed by the professional standards department, both from a criminal and misconduct perspective.

“Cases of misconduct are closely scrutinised by Suffolk Police Authority and they receive regular updates on the progress of investigations. Where there is an indication that an officer or member of staff may have committed a criminal act, evidence is presented to the Crown Prosecution Service to seek advice as to whether any further action would be appropriate.”

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