Police force tries to stop corrupt officer getting his pension

Legal advisers have been asked to examine whether ex-detective Robert Sloan can benefit while in jail

A police force has instructed lawyers to try and claw back the pension of a corrupt officer jailed for helping a dangerous gangster avoid prosecution. Essex Police said they had asked legal advisers to examine whether former detective Robert Sloan's pension could be forfeited after he was sentenced to two years in prison for perverting the course of justice.

Sloan was convicted at Southwark Crown Court last week after a jury heard how undercover surveillance officers secretly recorded him advising a criminal how to sabotage the criminal charges he faced. Sloan, 52, from Stanway, near Colchester, had retired from the force before an investigation into his relationship with the gangster ended, enabling him to secure his police pension.

Concerned Essex Police Authority members will raise the issue at a meeting tomorrow. Paul Bishop, an independent member of the authority, said yesterday: "There are forfeiture rules which could apply and I and other members will certainly be asking questions about this tomorrow."

The Essex force admitted it had asked its legal advisers to investigate how it can prevent Sloan from receiving pension payments. Experts say the force will have to seek the permission of the Treasury to try and stop Sloan receiving all or part of his pension even as he serves a two-year jail sentence. The Police Federation which represents rank and file officers, while condemning Sloan's actions, is expected to oppose any forfeiture bid.

Sloan met Wayne Taylor, who was long suspected of being a major drug baron while working for the Essex drugs squad in the 1990s. During this period Sloan, who had been awarded several Chief Constable's Commendations for his police work, had also been the subject of two earlier internal corruption inquiries.

The court heard Taylor became an "effective but highly dangerous" informant handled by Sloan. In 2006, Sloan was asked to re-establish Taylor as an informant after the firebombing of two officers' homes. At the time, detectives were unaware Taylor was the man responsible for the arson attacks.

The court heard Taylor ordered the attacks because he blamed the officers for "ruining Christmas" after they carried out a drug raid at his home in 2005 when presents under the Christmas tree were searched. He later paid two men to throw concrete slabs and petrol bombs into the officers' homes while they and their families slept.

When detectives became suspicious Sloan had formed an "inappropriate relationship", he was suspended and a covert surveillance operation began which captured Sloan giving detailed advice to Taylor on how to destroy a prosecution charge of handling stolen cars. During one taped call, Sloan was overheard admitting what they were doing was "borderline criminal".

Sloan, who denied the charges, claimed he was playing a "role" as an informant handler and admitted his methods were "unorthodox". Sentencing him, Judge James Wadsworth QC said Sloan had done "very substantial" damage to himself and to the Police Service. "What you were doing was aiding an important criminal to put forward either false mitigation or false pressure on the prosecution in order to reduce what would have been his proper sentence," he said.