Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shame of Britain's top cops: Police chiefs claim expenses to spend on extra-marital affairs and are guilty of 'predatory sexual conduct' towards juniors, finds report

Police chiefs put gifts for their lovers on taxpayer-funded expenses and preyed on young female colleagues out of arrogance, a scathing report has found.

They saw themselves as captains of industry rather than public servants, research into a string of misconduct scandals concluded.

A culture of entitlement meant some in the highest ranks believed they had a right to perks and privileges including gym membership, school fees, overseas travel, hospitality and executive cars.

The report added that too many forces tolerated bullying with a ‘boys club’ culture that allowed misconduct to thrive.

It was compiled as part of a College of Policing drive to improve leadership and integrity within the 43 constabularies in England and Wales.

Academics studied the cases of 33 police chiefs, all assistant chief constables or above, who were investigated for, or guilty of, offences including financial misconduct, dishonesty, bullying, racism and sexism since 2008.

Although not named in the report, one is understood to be Terry Grange, the then chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police who used his corporate credit card to pay for meals with his mistress and exchanged politically insensitive and sexually explicit emails with her via the force computer system.

In 2008, the Independent Police Complaints Commission upheld the allegations it investigated. Mr Grange did not face disciplinary action because he had already retired.

In October 2012 Sean Price, of Cleveland Police, was the first chief constable to be sacked in 35 years for gross misconduct after he lied to the police watchdog and ordered a member of staff to do the same.

Experts commissioned by the College of Policing, a professional body for police in England and Wales, studied misconduct investigations triggered by complaints about professional conduct made by spouses or partners when the relationship collapsed. Other cases studied included internal probes over expenses incurred while officers conducted affairs, and inappropriate and potentially predatory sexual conduct towards junior colleagues.

Police chiefs were also investigated for misconduct over pay, perks, hospitality, travel and expenses, racism, sexism, dishonesty and abuses of their force’s recruitment and procurement processes.

One senior officer was given an executive car fitted with blue lights and sirens, even though not trained to use it, because emergency vehicles received tax breaks.

The report found: ‘It was clear in a number of cases that there were factors specific to particular chief officers that appeared to be relevant to their behaviour. [They had] individual weaknesses that were regarded as risk factors. Some [interviewees] suggested that arrogance is a corollary of decisiveness, which is considered a desirable and necessary attribute in chief officers.’

The academics, who interviewed nearly 40 senior police officers and investigators, found that despite cuts of millions of pounds from police budgets, senior officers retained a culture of entitlement towards taxpayer-funded perks.

It said: ‘Some chief officers tended to see themselves as being more akin to "captains of industry" than public servants – with all the entitlements and privileges that came with the CEO role.

‘Several interviewees described a ‘‘culture of entitlement" at chief officer level. A culture of entitlement among some leaders had become ingrained to an extent that rendered it impervious to the changing ethical landscape associated with austerity.’

It found chief officers operated in a ‘distinctive environment that presents considerable risks, pressures and temptations’. They were powerful police officers, who were often isolated and unchallenged by less senior officers. Part of the problem was that challenging a senior officer’s judgement was ‘widely considered to be career-limiting’.

But the report said there were encouraging signs police chiefs were shifting to more inclusive and open leadership styles, which was less likely to lead to corruption within forces.

Original report here

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