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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower