Police took action in 20% of discipline cases

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The Independent Online
THE Metropolitan Police paid out-of-court settlements or damages amounting to more than pounds 10,000 in 59 civil actions over the past five years - but took disciplinary action against officers involved in only one in five of the cases, it emerged yesterday.

No disciplinary action was taken in 46 cases, the Metropolitan Police said. Officers had to answer charges before a discipline board in six cases, which led to 13 officers being dismissed, two being reprimanded, and two being advised about their behaviour by senior officers.

Charges against three others were not substantiated and in six cases officers were informally disciplined.

In the last five years, the force paid nearly pounds 1.9m in out-of-court settlements and pounds 758,000 in court awards, largely arising out of civil actions alleging assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecutions.

The disciplinary details were disclosed after the Labour MP, Chris Mullin, asked Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, what action was taken against officers involved in cases where damages or an out-of-court settlement amounted to pounds 10,000 or more.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said that allegations against officers were investigated thoroughly: 'The reason no action is taken is not just because the investigation discovers insufficient evidence to support a charge, but might be because the officer was wholly innocent.'

Last month, Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, put forward proposals to make the disciplinary system less 'cumbersome and legalistic'.