New powers urged to oust rogue police

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Police chiefs last night called for sweeping powers to root out corrupt officers. The Association of Chief Police Officers said measures were needed to get rid of the "tiny minority" of policemen who had no place in the service.

In evidence presented to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Britain's top-ranking police chiefs called for a lower standard of proof in disciplinary proceedings. Acpo said the test should be that the case is proved "on the balance of probabilities" rather than the present standard of "beyond all reasonable doubt", which is the same as for a criminal prosecution. The chairman of Acpo's discipline and complaints sub-committee, Peter Bensley, the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire, told MPs that the current situation was out of step with modern management practice.

"I have less powers than the manager of a large business," he said. "You are expecting me to manage an organisation. Just give us the tools to do the job."

He stressed that the new powers were needed to deal with the most serious cases where officers were alleged to be involved in corruption or crime.