Police Chiefs put gifts for their lovers on expenses and preyed on junior members of the police force because of a sense of entitlement, a scathing report has revealed.
The College of Policing, a professional body for police in England and Wales studied misconduct investigations handled by the police including internal probes over expenses incurred while officers were having affairs and behaving inappropriately in a predatory sexual manner towards junior colleagues, the Daily Mail reports.
The report was commissioned to investigate how senior police leaders can get drawn into misconduct, and concluded that as they scale the career ladder there was a growing culture of arrogance and a feeling that they were captains of industry rather than public servants.
It details how police chiefs were investigated over claims of misconduct over pay, perks, hospitality, travel and expenses, racism, sexism, dishonesty and abuse of the recruitment process.
The research programme underlined the need for change to come from within senior ranks and for chief officers to be more aware of the risks they face in their elevated positions, including senior officers thinking that the rules do not apply to them, or they are somehow exempt from them in a particular situation. Investigators found that this was the main motivating factor in misconduct, rather than behaving unethically due to self interest or personal gain.
“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,” the report found.
“[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.”
Nearly 40 senior police officers and investigators were interviewed and it was found that despite the cuts which have been imposed on police forces by central government, senior officers were still splashing the cash on unnecessary ‘perks’. This was allowed to flourish, they said, because police chiefs operated in a “distinctive environment that presents temptations,” adding, “They were powerful police officers, who were often isolated and unchallenged by less senior officers.”
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. They were, it said, left virtually surrounded by “yes men” because challenging a senior officer’s judgement was “widely considered to be career-limiting”.
One of those believed to have been investigated, although not named, was Terry Grance, the then chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police who put meals with his mistress on his corporate credit card and used his work computer to send saucy or sexually explicit emails.
And in October 2010, the chief constable of Cleveland Police, Sean Price, was the first of his rank 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.