Thursday, November 08, 2012

Thieving London cop jailed after stealing £400 left as bait at mock crime scene

A thieving police officer who was caught on camera pocketing cash from a mock crime scene was jailed for 12 months today after a judge branded him a 'bad apple'.

He was targeted after complaints about alleged thefts by officers from Greenwich Borough's Disruption unit during searches.

Scouler was filmed removing the cash from a leather jacket left in a flat in New Eltham, southeast London, in October 2011 and putting it into his pocket.

Before the start of Scouler's trial his colleague Pc Kenneth Potter, 30, had admitted to stealing £4 from a kitchen drawer during the same search and handling a stolen mobile phone. He was today handed a five month jail term by Judge Michael Gledhill.

Scouler, based at Plumstead police station, claimed he 'completely forgot' the money was in his pocket and that it had been a 'genuine error'.

However in passing sentence Michael Gledhill told Scouler and Potter: 'The trust that society places in their police officers is vitally important to everyone. 'When that trust is broken by rogue officers as you became public confidence is eroded, it makes the job of honest officers far more difficult, and it seriously undermines society.'

He said CCTV footage, which had been shown to the jury, clearly showed the 'thoroughly unprofessional' way the officers conducted themselves during the search.

The judge added: 'Why did you steal the money? The answer, certainly in your case Ian Scouler, is simply greed, perhaps both greed and stupidity in your case Kenneth Potter.'

He said the officers took the cash believing the suspect, whose home they thought they were searching, was an illegal immigrant who was unlikely to return to the flat or make a complaint.

He added: 'The pair of you were or are bad apples who have tarnished the reputation of the Metropolitan Police and the thousands of officers who do their job honestly on behalf of the public they serve,' he said.

'It gives me no absolutely pleasure to consider the consequences to yourselves, your families, and your friends.'

Potter also pleaded guilty to handling a mobile phone stolen during a search in 2010 belonging to Fadima Abhdoom.

Prosecutor Nick Corsellis said Potter had 'used the phone for a short time thereafter, selling it online'.

Mr Corsellis explained that Scouler was caught out after the mock crime scene was set up as part of an 'integrity test'

The flat in New Eltham, was fitted with audio and video recording equipment and the pair along with Pc Thompson were told to search the flat in connection with a series of robberies.

The recording of the search showed police officers playing music, using coarse language - and even stopping to browse a pornography magazine they found.

After pocketing the cash, Scouler was videoed going into the kitchen where he spoke to Pc Thompson who had just discovered 200 Euros, which was also planted in the flat. They both paused and looked at each other before Scouler quipped: 'It's not divisible by three.'

Under police procedural rules all discoveries should be announced, placed in an exhibit bag, logged, and then handed over to a superior. Mr Corsellis said that several items were bagged, logged, and passed on, but the cash was not.

Scouler was arrested early the next day on suspicion of theft where officers discovered the £400 was still in his pocket.

In a prepared statement Scouler said he had believed that that there was approximately £200 in the jacket pocket, but had forgotten putting it in his own pocket until he had left to go home. He said: 'I considered going back to the police station so drove past my house. 'I then changed my mind and decided I would sort it out in the morning. 'It was a genuine error on my part. I completely forgot about the cash. There was never any intention to steal it.'

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

No comments: