Police with criminal records

A popular investigation seen in many American newspapers is making its way to Britain thanks to the Freedom of Information Act.

This article in The Times used the FOIA to discover the number of police officers with a criminal record working in 13 police forces:

Hundreds of police may have criminal records

Scores of police officers in England and Wales have convictions for offences including assault, theft, possession of an offensive weapon and actual bodily harm.

Details released by 13 forces under the Freedom of Information Act show that 164 officers have been convicted of offences, some since they joined the police.

Of those forces that have so far disclosed their figures, Kent has the highest percentage of officers with a record. It employs 52 officers with convictions, almost 1.5% of its strength. Most are for traffic offences but the list includes criminal damage and public order offences. In West Yorkshire, 10 of the 12 officers with records have been convicted of assault, all while in the force.

Local papers are also picking up the story and localising it to their force, such as this article in an Essex paper:
Revealed: police officers who have criminal records

Two Essex Police officers serving in the force’s western division – which includes Epping Forest and Harlow – have criminal records, the Guardian can reveal.

Records obtained via the Freedom of Information laws show that one officer was convicted of excess alcohol and another for common assault. Both convictions occurred whilst off duty.

The Lancashire Evening Post ran an article, Wrong arm of the law, revealing how 20 Lancashire police officers have been arrested in the last five years for offences ranging from drink driving and criminal damage to assault, affray, perverting the course of justice, child porn and theft. Only one officer arrested for assault was jailed – the others remain on duty.

There are a number of other variations on this theme that could be used by an enterprising reporter:

  • The number of parking attendants with criminal records
  • The number of teachers with criminal records
  • The number of bus drivers with criminal records or poor driving records
  • The number of minicab or black cab drivers with criminal or poor driving records

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