Letter: Wholesale changes needed in police disciplinary system

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The Independent Online
Sir: Corruption in the police service is clearly something to be deplored but treating police officers like the staff of a retail grocer is not the answer.

The current situation is an acknowledgement of the special role that police officers have in society and the need to protect them from fear of wrongful dismissal. A handful of corrupt police officers is a small price to pay for a service which is composed of officers who are not frightened to do the job that society expects of them.

Three years ago I was the subject of a malicious complaint, made with the sole intention of disrupting an investigation. From the outset of my enquiries I expected intimidatory tactics of this nature. I was reassured by the knowledge that my accusers were faced with the same standard of proof as I was. I did my duty and was later praised for not allowing myself to be intimidated.

The majority of police officers are honourable men and women who face considerable danger in order to protect society. The danger of death or serious injury is something officers learn to live with. It is considered an acceptable risk. The danger of being dismissed from the service in disgrace on a trumped-up corruption charge is not. This is why the criminal standard of proof is so important.

DC PETER SAVAGE

Sussex Police

Lancing, West Sussex

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