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Police officers evade punishment despite found guilty

Police officers from over 47 forces across Britain are allowed to go unpunished despite facing disciplinary panels, the Guardian, BBC and the Daily Mail report.

The data collected after a freedom of information request by the BBC’s Panorama reveal 1,915 officers were found guilty of misconduct from 2008 to 2010.

One fifth of those, 382 as the Guardian states, were dismissed or required to resign while a total of 489 faced misconduct action during the same period.

Campaign groups have been calling for more accountability among forces.

Lawyer Jocelyn Cockburn, who represents cases involving complaints against police, stressed the danger of guilty officers avoiding punishment by resigning. Officers with clean records could repeatedly breach police codes of conduct in other  forces after they resign.

“If they are allowed to leave the police without any stain on their character then there is the chance they will go and work in another force, and that does happen,” she said.

According to BBC News, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Peter Fahy, representing the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said corrupt officers, were damaging community confidence in the authorities but extenuating the disciplinary procedure could be costly to the taxpayers:

“There is a judgement about, do you want to wait for a long drawn out disciplinary procedure, which you know is likely to end in the officer losing their job, or if that officer is willing to resign, is it not in the public interest again, to get them off the payroll and to avoid the cost and expense of a hearing?”

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