Britain’s top police force has 161 convicted criminals on its books

A general view of the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police service in London, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

Britain’s top police force currently employs 161 officers with criminal convictions, some of which pertain to serious sexual offenses.

This is just one revelation unearthed from an update by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to the British government on the action being taken by the force to clean up its image after numerous recent reports concluded it was no longer capable of protecting the public.

The letter by Rowley to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, seen by the British press, highlights the uphill task ahead of those at the helm of Britain’s largest police force to address public concerns over the force’s recruitment and the conduct of its officers.

The force’s leadership commissioned a review into historic allegations and disciplinary hearings for current officers after recent high-profile cases revealed police staff had abused their positions to commit heinous crimes including rape, kidnap, and murder.

Background checks against serving officers have since revealed that 161 police officers have previous criminal convictions, with around half related to traffic offenses including drunk driving, but others pertain to acts of violence, dishonesty, and drug offenses. At least three serving police officers have criminal convictions for sexual offenses.

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A review of all 50,000 staff employed by the force also found 55 individuals who may have possible links to criminal networks, and 196 individuals against whom allegations of sexual or domestic abuse were made in the past 10 years, but who were allowed to keep their jobs.

Rowley called for an immediate re-assessment of all officers against whom allegations were made; he also vowed to implement a new re-vetting process for existing staff, a move that is likely to face legal challenges but one he is confident of implementing.

He also revealed that a total of 51 police officers have been sacked since he assumed his role in September last year; he has also overseen a doubling of suspended officers.

“Much of this reinforces the need for a tougher regulatory framework and additional powers to remove officers,” Rowley wrote in his correspondence to the home secretary. “These processes are far more complex, bureaucratic, and slow than normal employment law and that is hampering our efforts.”

Upon receipt of the review’s findings, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “I have been clear that a relentless focus on improving standards and common sense policing is required.

“Sir Mark’s update on the work to root out unfit officers demonstrates the scale of this challenge, but I have confidence in his plan to turn around the Met and ensure the force is delivering for the public.

“I am also driving forward work to review the police dismissals process to ensure the system is effective at removing officers who fall below the standards we expect.”

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