EXCLUSIVE: 55 Met officers investigated for possession & distribution of obscene images

Figures from our FOI request reveal

Fifty-five Metropolitan Police officers have been investigated for possession and/or distribution of obscene images since 2006, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from LondonlovesBusiness.com has revealed.

The Metropolitan Police Service registered 43 cases against the 55 officers in total, with 63 allegations made since 2006 for officers distributing or possessing obscene images. (The Met defines cases as “incidents that generate complaints” with “one incident containing one or more allegations made by one or more complainants”.)

Out of the 63 allegations made, 23 have been substantiated, leading to 12 resignations or retirements.

The Metropolitan Police has further dismissed without notice seven officers since 2006 as a consequence of allegations against them about possession and/or distribution of obscene images.

So far, 2013 has registered the highest number of cases since 2006, with 18 allegations against 19 officers.

Green Party member Baroness Jenny Jones condemned the figures, saying: “I am concerned that the 23 substantiated allegations led to 12 resignations or retirements which show once again that police officers have been able to leave on their own terms despite alleged wrongdoing.

“The deputy commissioner of the Met has said he has ended this practice, assuring me that officers could only leave in ‘rare instances’.

“However, last year when allegations were substantiated against two officers they were allowed to retire or resign rather than be held to account for their actions. It is incredibly damaging to public confidence when police wrongdoing goes without sanction. It gives the impression it is one rule for the police and another for the public.

“Other forces hold disciplinary hearings in absentia and this is something the Mayor should instruct the Met to take up.”

Caroline Pidgeon MP MBE, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said: “Even allowing for the fact that these cases represent a very tiny fraction of the vast number of officers employed by the Met, these figures are still disturbing, especially the steep increase in cases that took place in 2013.

“We need a full explanation as to why this problem appears to be getting worse in the Met.”

Joanne McCartney, London Assembly Labour Group Police and Crime spokesperson, said: “These complaints are extremely serious and should be investigated in as robust a fashion as possible. The Met must remain ever vigilant to ensure that the public can have the utmost confidence in their officers. It’s also important that officers should not be able to resign to avoid disciplinary proceedings. The Met assured the London Assembly they would no longer allow this to happen and this must be adhered to.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said that the number of allegations “is an extremely small proportion” of the 55,000 officers and staff in the Metropolitan Police.

“The Metropolitan Police Service takes any allegations of wrong doing by officers or staff very seriously,” she added. “Where appropriate, allegations of criminal behaviour or misconduct are investigated thoroughly by officers from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards. Investigations may also be managed or carried out independently by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”

Data‘06‘07‘08‘09‘10‘11‘12‘13‘14Total
Cases66446466143
Officer allegations9104464619163
Officers664464618155

Results for allegations made:

Result‘06‘07‘08‘09‘10‘11‘12‘13‘14Tot.
Discontinuance of investigation1001100104
Officer not informed0100000001
Substantiated46212332023
Unsubstantiated43223109024
Awaits00000037111

Action taken:

Action‘06‘07‘08‘09‘10‘11‘12‘13‘14Total
Formal Action0001123007
Resigned/retired25101102012
Words of advice1000000001
Written warning1110000003

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Anonymous

    At least they resign or retire after something like this, unlike MPs who just carry on as if nothing has happened!

    Until MPs are properly punished, what incentive is there for any other public organization to follow suit?

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  • in such a large organisation there are bound to be a few bad pennies. what is more worrying, though not surprising, is that the police seem to behave more and more like the general public which has undoubtedly seen a decline in manners, morals and honesty. those found wanting should be sacked, and no more 'retiring' with a pension when found out!

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  • Police authorities need to look at training needs of their forces and engage reputed organisations/professionals to check the conduct of police. These checks should be conducted periodically.I am sure the UK government will address these alarming findings and prepare a road map to ingrain responsible behaviour.

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