Police worker sacked for abusing force credit card

A Scotland Yard worker has been sacked for abusing a new corporate credit card introduced to stamp out fraud.

Two further police officers are under investigation for suspected misuse of the overhauled expenses system.

Senior officers scrapped the use of American Express cards after an anti-corruption inquiry uncovered fraud and that many officers broke internal rules.

New Barclaycards with lower spending limits, tighter rules and shorter repayment intervals were handed to a smaller number of officers and staff.

But the force admitted an unnamed civilian employee has been forced to resign and was cautioned for theft after buying personal goods through the revamped system.

Officers continue to probe two further cases of suspected misuse and a third case may have been discontinued after the employee left the force.

Caroline Pidgeon, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), said she was shocked by the disclosure.

She said: "After all the publicity about Amex we have got three people already under review with the new card. I find it staggering, quite honestly."

Anne McMeel, Metropolitan Police director of resources, said the inquiries are evidence the new system is picking up potential problems.

She said: "We are looking at this and they are being picked up. If people are misusing them we are picking it up and getting on it.

"No system is absolutely perfect but we are very conscious of the need to make sure this is properly controlled within the organisation."

Documents passed to the MPA also revealed 133 cardholders were already overdue in reconciling a total of £84,199 spent on the cards.

Officials said less money is being spent on the new system because fewer officers hold cards and staff have been told to use other methods to buy equipment.

Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson ordered a review of spending on American Express cards when colleagues first uncovered evidence of fraud in September 2007.

A total of 3,533 officers and staff were issued with the cards and at one point £3.7 million of public money was unaccounted for.

The majority of this money has been paid back, but legal action is expected against two former officers who owe £82,000 and £1,100.

Hundreds of officers in the force's specialist crime and counter-terrorism wings were stripped of their cards in the crackdown.

Overwhelmed internal investigators discovered so many employees broke in-house rules they agreed a secret amnesty and did not punish them.

More than 300 people were referred to anti-corruption detectives when evidence emerged of potential fraud.

Of these cases, 50 were passed to independent investigators. Three officers have been convicted of criminal offences. Prosecutors are considering 12 more cases.

More than 20 officers have been handed punishments including written warnings, formal reprimands and docked pay.

Inquiries into abuse of the credit card system by officers are expected to continue until next March.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the new system was introduced in June last year with "robust processes" to make sure staff use resources "appropriately".

She said: "Among various benefits this has enabled managers and finance units to have greater oversight of expenditure.

"Following an investigation by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards into the alleged misuse of a corporate credit card a member of police staff received a criminal caution for theft earlier this year. Before receiving this caution he resigned from the Met.

"Local management is currently reviewing the use of corporate credit cards by two serving police officers."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?