Sharp hike in number of police misconduct allegations in 2020/21 'due to a number of factors'

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Ch Insp Andrew Sanderson said factors such as misconduct proceedings being delayed due to covid and the rise in the number of officers serving were among the reasons behind the increase - Credit: PA WIRE

The number of police officers facing misconduct hearings or meetings while serving in the East Area Basic Command Unit (BCU) rose sharply in 2020/21 when compared to previous years. 

According to data accessed via a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, in 2020/21, 35 such meetings or hearings were held by the unit, which covers Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham.

This represents a hike of 66.7 per cent on the 21 in 2019/20 and more than double the 17 from 2018/19. Eighteen were recorded in 2017/18, the earliest year for which data was provided.

Ch Insp Andrew Sanderson attributed the hike to a number of factors, including a bottleneck of proceedings postponed during the pandemic and a rise in the number of officers. 

When whittled down to just meetings, the number remains high, with 29 in 2020/21, 16 the year before, 13 for 2018/19 and nine for 2017/18. 

The two categories of 'authority and respect’ and ‘duties and responsibilities' were the standards cited most often in allegations relating to the meetings or hearings, with eight each.  

Last year the unit also recorded its highest number of police officers serving for the years given, at over 1,454 on average per month, up from a low of more than 1,223 in 2018/19. 

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While misconduct meetings and hearings rose sharply last year, this was not reflected in the number of police officers subject to gross misconduct meetings.  

Six were recorded in 2020/21, more than the five in 2019/20 and four in 2018/19, but less than the nine reported for 2017/18. 

Of the six held last year, five of those hearings resulted in an officer being dismissed. This was up on the two recorded for each of the two years’ prior, but less than the six in 2017/18. 

Ch Insp Sanderson said the force was aware of the rise in misconduct meetings and hearings. 

He said: “There are thousands of officers within the Met who are at the heart of the communities they serve, working to identify and catch offenders, keeping people safe and building confidence in us as a trusted public service – there is also the small minority who let us down and our efforts to identify and remove those people from the service continue.”