Police roll call of disgrace: Officers who downloaded indecent images and tied up woman among dozens facing sack

Wave of disciplinary cases come as commissioner says two or three officers every week will be in criminal courts

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Editor
Monday 30 January 2023 19:18 GMT
Met Police chief says two to three officers will face charges every week for months

Britain’s policing crisis has deepened as The Independent can reveal an officer who downloaded indecent images of children and another who tied a woman up and cut her with a knife are among dozens facing the sack.

At least 39 officers are to face misconduct hearings across England and Wales over the coming weeks, including 23 from the Metropolitan Police alone. Among the worst offenders from across the country are:

• Officer downloaded images of victims in voyeurism cases

• Dozens face sack for drugs, sexism and racism charges

• A sergeant who used his position to strike up a relationship with a domestic violence victim

Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has revealed that he expected “two or three officers going to court” for separate criminal cases every week for the next few months, with many facing accusations of sexual offences and domestic abuse.

He admitted that Britain’s largest force had more than “just a few bad apples” and warned that “more painful stories” would be unearthed as Scotland Yard intensifies efforts to find and sack unsuitable officers.

In the latest case, a Safer Schools officer admitted a string of child sex offences including grooming teenage girls.

PC Hussain Chehab appeared in court just days after serial rapist David Carrick pleaded guilty to 49 offences, including 24 rapes, against 12 women dating back to 2003.

Following Carrick’s admissions, a Met Police trawl uncovered more than 1,000 officers and staff who had been allowed to remain in the force after allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse.

Sir Mark told the London Assembly that some allegations were found to have been resolved, some people are being re-vetted and some new investigations were just beginning.

Forces are unable to formally dismiss officers or hold misconduct hearings if any criminal proceedings are under way, meaning that further disciplinary cases will be scheduled as prosecutions move through the courts.

Scotland Yard was unable to say if the number of disciplinary cases had increased.

Jamie Klingler, a co-founder of the Reclaim These Streets campaign group formed after the murder of Sarah Everard, said the “continued cycle of excuses” has to stop.

“They keep saying they want to rebuild trust with women and girls but they never say how,” she told The Independent.

“The Met can’t move on culturally without a huge change in training … and they need to immediately stop officers who are under investigation [for offences against women] from working with vulnerable people and on domestic abuse cases.”

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Anti-domestic abuse campaigner David Challen, who successfully fought for his mother to be freed from prison after she killed his abusive father, said “the scale of police abuse still being uncovered is outrageous”.

“The Met has shown it cannot be trusted to root out abusers within their ranks,” he added. “A statutory inquiry is needed to have any hope at creating the radical reform and meaningful accountability needed to build back trust.”

After the Carrick case, forces in England and Wales were ordered to check officers and staff against databases to identify any allegations or intelligence that should be investigated, including past accusations that saw no action.

A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesperson said: “We recognise that confidence in policing, especially amongst women and girls, has been damaged. The public deserve to have trust in any officer they may deal with in their time of need.

“As we take action, more misconduct will be uncovered, and while every example is uncomfortable and difficult, only action, and the public seeing the result of that action, will rebuild confidence.”

David Carrick raped and abused women while serving in the Metropolitan Police

Misconduct cases to be heard over the next month include:

Tied up woman and cut her with knife

PC Sam Grigg, of the Metropolitan Police, was sacked on Monday for discreditable conduct.

He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and actual bodily harm at Kingston Crown Court earlier this month and will be sentenced on 10 February.

A Metropolitan Police listing for the hearing read: “On 2 December 2022, whilst off duty, PC Grigg unlawfully imprisoned and detained a female against her will. He used tape to restrain her wrists, ankles and covered her mouth with tape. After leaving her restrained for a short period of time he cut her free using a knife, cutting her in the process.”

Commander Jon Savell, who is in charge of the Met’s professional standards department said Grigg’s behaviour was “totally unacceptable” adding: “I know it will cause concern among members of the public”.

Downloaded indecent images

Detective Constable James Jordan, of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, was sacked on Monday after pleading guilty to making indecent images of children and misconduct in public office.

The force said that, while on duty, “he accessed confidential police systems with no policing purpose and downloaded indecent images of children, images of victims in voyeurism cases and accessed confidential files”. They included 63 images in category A – the most serious category.

When interviewed, he admitted using police systems to download “sexualised images of victims linked to voyeurism investigations for his own sexual gratification”, but denied a sexual interest in children.

He pleaded guilty to eight offences at St Albans Crown Court in December and will be sentenced on 10 February.

David Carrick: Rishi Sunak says police 'must address failings' to protect women

Sent explicit messages

Former Greater Manchester Police officer, Craig Grocott, is alleged to have sent unwanted sexually explicit messages and photographs and/or videos to female colleagues.

His hearing will take place on 9 February, although he previously resigned from the force and last worked there in October 2021.

Racist, sexist and homophobic messages

Eight current and former Met Police officers in an operation codenamed “Redmires” face a misconduct hearing beginning on 20 February over accusations of racist, sexist and homophobic posts in a WhatsApp group.

Sergeant Luke Thomas, Former Acting Sergeant Luke Allen, former PC Kelsey Buchan, former PC Carlo Francisco, former PC Lee South, former PC Darren Jenner, PC Glynn Rees, and an unnamed officer named only as “Officer B”, will be accused of breaching professional standards including respect and courtesy, equality and diversity and reporting improper conduct.

Struck up relationship with victim

Sergeant Roger Bolt, of Devon and Cornwall Police, faces a misconduct hearing on 2 February for allegedly entering a relationship with a “high-risk domestic violence victim”, who he met while investigating the case.

He is accused of abusing his position and breaching the standards of professional behaviour.

Met boss Sir Mark Rowley has warned that the process of reforming the force will be slow and painful

Made sex noises to colleague

A Merseyside Police officer, whose name is only listed as Constable 3362 Baines, is alleged to have “played with their genitalia making inappropriate comments” towards a colleague in August 2020.

On several other occasions during the same month, PC Baines is accused of “making inappropriate sex noises”, “suggesting that they would have sexual intercourse with a colleague” and “deliberately running behind a colleague and making an inappropriate comment”.

Baines is subject to a disciplinary hearing that began on 24 January and will conclude in March.

Had drugs and weapons

Former PC William Holyoake who pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis and offensive weapons faced a misconduct hearing on Monday.

The Metropolitan Police said he had admitted possession of a controlled drug, three police-issued batons and a butterfly knife.

In October, he was sentenced to a community order including 60 hours of unpaid work, £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £95.

The Carrick case has sparked fresh scrutiny on vetting and monitoring processes in the Met

Failed drug test

Also on Monday, former PC Lee Ashby, previously based in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command – the same unit as serial rapist David Carrick – faced a misconduct hearing accused of discreditable conduct and being unfit for duty.

PC Ashby allegedly failed a drug test in June 2020, which found a positive result for an anabolic steroid.

A listing for the hearing said: “It is further alleged that this conduct, if proven, amounts to gross misconduct in that it is so serious as to justify dismissal.

“The officer has now resigned from the Metropolitan Police Service and his last day of service was on 25 October 2022.”

Refused drug test

Commander Julian Bennett faces a five-day misconduct hearing starting on Monday over allegations he “used controlled drugs” and refused to comply with a drug test.

The listing for the hearing said: “It is alleged that Cdr Bennett refused to provide a sample in order to conceal the fact that he had used cannabis, that he did not have a good reason for failing to comply ... and that his behaviour brings discredit upon the police service and undermines confidence in it.”

He faces dismissal if gross misconduct is found.

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