One police superintendent in ten 'is being investigated'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Senior police officers are far more likely to face an investigation than members of the public, the Police Superintendents' Association says.

Senior police officers are far more likely to face an investigation than members of the public, the Police Superintendents' Association says.

One in 10 superintendents in England and Wales is currently being investigated for criminal or disciplinary charges, the officers' organisation reports, whereas only 1 per cent of the general population is under investigation by the police at any given time.

On the eve of its annual conference in Warwickshire, which starts today, the association said that in some forces as many as one in five superintendents was being investigated by officers from other forces.

In total more than 100 were currently suspended from duty or were working "under a cloud of suspicion".

The figures represented a massive increase from 1994, when only 12 superintendents or chief superintendents were investigated, even though at the time there were twice as many officers holding the positions.

A spokeswoman for the association said the huge increase in complaints was largely due to "unbearable strain" on senior police officers, many of whom were in "high pressure jobs".

She blamed the high-risk culture most senior officers had to operate in without training and the rise of a "public blame culture. The buck should not only stop with us," she said. "There are far fewer superintendents in the country than there were six years ago and they now have financial responsibility and are on call 24 hours a day. More than 30 per cent are doing high-risk jobs without doing any training at all."

Chief Superintendent Kevin Morris, president of the association, said: "Some of our officers will find it hard to come to terms with the fact that they have carried out their duties faithfully and to the best of their abilities, only to find themselves vilified in public, facing disciplinary, or worse, criminal trials." He said that officers should, though, accept justifiable criticism and only fight back against smears.

The association said investigations into complaints were taking too long. "In one case, a superintendent has been suspended on full pay for four years," the spokeswoman said.

"It is despicable that someone has to wait that long for the matter to be resolved. While officers are suspended, they cannot apply for promotion or transfer, not to mention the waste of public money," the spokeswoman added.

Comments