Yesterday, watchdogs warned that thousands of police officers had criminal records, are tied to gangs, or pose a threat to the public.
An examination of personnel files revealed that it was far too simple for misogynistic, corrupt, or predatory officers to enroll and remain in uniform.
Inspector of Police Matt Parr advocated for enhanced screening to weed out dangerous persons. Among the report’s most shocking results were:
- Officers could switch forces without vetting information being passed on;
- Some bosses hired recruits without conducting face-to-face interviews;
- Others failed to check employment records of applicants and even hired recruits who had lied on applications;
- Bosses took extra risks on candidates if it helped boost diversity.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate for Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services made an astounding 43 recommendations to address “sloppy” standards.
The investigation was conducted by Kent Police, the Metropolitan Police, and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. It was commissioned in October 2012 following the murder of Sarah Everard by Met officer Wayne Couzens.
Cumbria, South Wales, Nottinghamshire, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall were also examined.
Mr. Parr noted “astonishing” examples of failed background checks, such as a special constable with a 12-month supervision order for indecent exposure as a minor.
After 13 years and three applications to the same force, he was eventually cleared by the vetting procedure following an appeal. Inspectors stated that he should have been denied automatically.
Another cop who passed the screening had been cited for speeding five years prior, convicted of attempted theft overseas, and had ties to drug trafficking and dangerous criminals.
Inspectors also discovered instances of recruiters with ties to organized crime. In the family of one special agent, there was “substantial criminality,” including a sibling with convictions for drug dealing and violence who was also a person of interest in murder and kidnapping investigations.
The applicant stated that he was estranged from his sibling, but no effort was made to verify this or limit the potential of corruption. Another officer who claimed to have minimal touch with his brother the criminal was in fact living with him.
Despite his dishonesty and the obvious hazards, the officer was exonerated of any wrongdoing because his lies were “not severe enough to refuse vetting to a young guy who wanted to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer.”
Mr. Parr stated, “It is too simple for undesirables to join and remain in the police force. If the police are to regain the public’s trust and protect its female officers and personnel, vetting must become far more stringent and sexual misconduct must be treated with greater gravity.
‘Regrettably, misogynistic and predatory conduct are pervasive in all the forces we surveyed. An shocking number of women, police officers, and staff members spoke about the abhorrent behavior of their male coworkers.
‘In many cases, the perpetrator was someone who had previously been reported for similar behavior, which was either not taken seriously or not investigated adequately. Many women informed us that this type of behavior is so commonplace that they don’t report it until it becomes quite severe.
He said, “It seems legitimate for me to assert that, over the past three or four years, we have recruited hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals about whom we have serious concerns.”
The retired rear admiral found it astounding that some forces did not conduct personal interviews with recruits and did not investigate their employment history.
Suella Braverman stated that it was “disappointing” because some forces took unwarranted risks. “It is equally unacceptable that women continue to face misogynistic and sexist behavior, whether they are police officers or members of the public seeking assistance,” continued the Home Secretary.
Among the recommendations were minimum criteria for employment screening, improved methods for corruption investigations, and more guidance on workplace conduct.
The National Police Chiefs Council stated that the suggestions would be implemented, but emphasized that HMICFRS agreed with the majority of screening judgments. We cannot risk predatory or discriminating individuals slipping through the cracks, said chairman Martin Hewitt.
Andy Marsh, chief constable of the College of Policing, stated that the findings would be turned into practical guidelines that would enhance standards.
Neo-Nazi poster boy who joined the Metropolitan Police
Contributed by George Odling and Rebecca Camber
A neo-Nazi was hired by Scotland Yard despite having appeared in a recruitment video for a banned far-Right organization two days prior to his application.
Benjamin Hannam, 23 years old, was the first officer to be convicted of terrorism-related charges after an anonymous hacker informed the Metropolitan Police that he was a member of National Action.
Hannam, a resident of Enfield, London, joined the white supremacists in 2016 and recruited others to join a group that supported the murder of British politician Jo Cox.
Nevertheless, he was able to pass the police screening process and served as a probationary cop for over two years before he was arrested in 2020 after being discovered in a database of users of an extreme right-wing forum.
Officers noticed that he continued to download Nazi literature after beginning officer training.
The Old Bailey sentenced him to four years and four months in prison for membership in a banned terrorist organization and possession of terror papers outlining knife fighting and explosive devices.