Sickness that lets cheats beat the rap

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The Independent Online
The report describes a graphic example of how three Scotland Yard detectives escaped disciplinary action for moonlighting as bodyguards for a businessman. As disciplinary proceedings began, they went sick and have all since retired on ill-health pensions.

The report tells how Detective Sergeant Thomas Bradley met the wealthy businessman in 1995 when he reported to Belgravia police, claiming that two of his staff had stolen from his Knightsbridge home.

DS Bradley agreed to arrange for the man and his wife to be chauffeured and "protected" while in London. When the family next arrived in Britain later that year they were met at the airport by DS Bradley and a colleague, DS Ian Martin, who held up a placard for identification. "Mercedes cars were hired and a number of officers took turns to act as chauffeurs and bodyguards," the report says. Several thousands of pounds were to be paid for the service.

In November 1995, DS Bradley and DS Martin were suspended from duty on full pay. DS Bradley was to have been charged with 17 disciplinary offences, including "discreditable conduct". DS Martin was due to face two disciplinary charges while a third officer, Detective Constable Barry Porter, was to have been charged with seven disciplinary offences.

All three subsequently reported sick. After legal advice, DS Bradley was granted ill-health retirement after the Metropolitan Police "reluctantly" decided it could not proceed with disciplinary charges. DS Martin and DC Porter were also granted pensions, although the force "deeply regretted" disciplinary action could not take place.

"There remains real concern that individuals who are ostensibly mentally strong before their suspension suffer severe psychiatric illness immediately afterwards and yet so quickly recover following their retirement, to the extent that they are immediately able to function in demanding areas of employment," the report concludes.