Thursday, September 25, 2014

Criminal probe into Met poster girl is dropped: Firearms officer says she suffered '13 months of hell' during inquiry into her conduct

A black woman firearms officer said she suffered ‘13 months of hell’ before a criminal inquiry into her conduct was dropped yesterday.

PC Carol Howard, 35, claimed the inquiry only went on for so long because she had successfully challenged racism and sexism in the Metropolitan Police.

The officer, who was the force’s Olympics security poster girl in 2012, learned she will face no further action over claims linked to a dispute with her ex-husband.

Last night, she said: ‘I’m appalled and disgusted that the police put me through 13 months of hell simply because I stood up to the Met Police and challenged the discrimination at work.

‘As a working officer, I know these allegations would not normally have been investigated in this way and for this long.

'I was punished for challenging them and they tried to smear me. Lessons need to be learned by the police, and quickly.’

Sussex Police had investigated a string of incidents which allegedly took place in 2012-2013. But the Crown Prosecution Service found there was insufficient evidence to bring charges of perverting the course of justice and harassment.

A claim of common assault was not pursued as the alleged incident took place more than two years ago and there is a six-month limit on the offence. A further claim that PC Howard possessed an indecent image of a child was dropped as the photograph was of her daughter.

This month, the elite officer was awarded £37,000 for suffering appalling treatment in the Met’s Diplomatic Protection Group.

Judges found PC Howard was targeted for almost a year by a senior officer while working in the Met’s Diplomatic Protection Group.

The decision to end the inquiry is unlikely to be the final chapter in an ongoing acrimonious dispute between PC Howard and the force.

The officer, the force's poster girl for the 2012 Olympic Games, right, claims the inquiry into her arrests only went on for so long because she successfully challenged the force over racism and sexual discrimination

She has accused the force of trying to ‘smear’ her by releasing details of her arrest at the hands of The Met and neighbouring Sussex.

Senior officers are still considering whether to bring a misconduct case against her, something which could yet end her police career.

Earlier this week the Equality and Human Rights Commission announced it will investigate the force over its handling of internal complaints.

The tribunal found officers routinely deleted references to discrimination from reports, including one relating to PC Howard.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: ‘We have advised Sussex Police that no further criminal action should be taken.’

Original report here


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