Policemen sacked after posing for 'inappropriate' photo during raid

Five police officers from Merseyside Police's elite gun-crime unit have been fired after a photograph surfaced of them fooling around in a house they were raiding. The five policemen – all constables from the force's Matrix team – were sacked yesterday after a three-month internal inquiry found them guilty of "gross misconduct".

The photograph, taken on a mobile phone, showed the uniformed men in the kitchen of a suspect's home holding up everyday items, including a packet of breakfast cereal and cleaning products, while grinning and pulling faces. The photograph of them "behaving inappropriately" emerged during a professional-standards investigation set up to probe allegations that items of clothing seized in similar Matrix raids were appearing for sale on eBay.

Two senior officers within Matrix were also suspended for failing to supervise the search team properly. It is understood one has been reinstated but the second remains suspended. Three officers, including one sergeant, were suspended over those allegations last month and remain on police bail.

The Matrix unit is a specialist task force, made up of inspectors, sergeants and constables, which leads Merseyside Police's fight against drug-related gun and gang crime, which has blighted the Liverpool region.

Its members undergo a rigorous training regime, including "rope-access" abseiling, riot control and the apprehension of "cash-in-transit" robberies.

The unit played a significant role in targeting the gangs associated with the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, who was gunned down in Croxteth in 2007.

"We expect the highest standards from our officers and these officers fell far short of that expectation," the force's Deputy Chief Constable, Bernard Lawson, said. "Our residents and communities have the right to expect our officers to act professionally and with integrity at all times so that they can have confidence in the work that we do.

"As a force we believe it is important to take swift and decisive action when officers are found to have fallen short of the standards we expect, and in this case we have done just that. We are proud that over the past three years we have seen such significant falls in crime within Merseyside, particularly the 26 per cent drop in gun crime.

"That is in no small part down to the good work of the Matrix team."

* One of Britain's top policemen and his deputy spent Wednesday night behind bars and were released on bail after their arrests as part of an investigation into misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practices. Chief Constable Sean Price and Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard, both of Cleveland Police, were arrested alongside the force's former head of legal services, Caroline Llewellyn, on Wednesday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot