DORSET Police officers are among hundreds of those arrested each year for the crimes they are employed to tackle, new data has revealed.
A study by Newsquest’s data investigations unit found that 13 officers or members of staff were arrested in Dorset between May 2015 and 2019.
Rape, burglary and assault are among the crimes employees were apprehended over, the investigation found.
However, of 13 arrests, nine cases (69 per cent) were dropped and the employee faced no criminal or disciplinary action.
Nationally, 1190 police officers and staff were arrested in the four-year period – the equivalent of six employees a week.
The 54-year-old admitted harassing the victim between January 2013 and September 2014 and was sentenced to nine months in prison.
He had been in the force for 14 years when he was dismissed in 2015.
In the same year, three PCs were arrested on separate charges of violence to secure entry to premises, rape and burglary. All three cases were dropped, and no disciplinary action was taken.
A PCSO arrested on suspicion of assault faced no criminal or disciplinary action.
However, a member of staff arrested on suspicion of attempted arson in 2015 was convicted of the crime and resigned. Another staff member arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 13 faced no criminal action but was dismissed by the force.
In 2016, a police constable was handed a penalty notice for public disorder and given a written warning. A member of staff convicted of drink-driving resigned from the force.
A PC arrested on suspicion of assault in 2017 faced no criminal action but was dismissed after a misconduct investigation brought up separate matters, and a special constable faced no further action after also being arrested on suspicion of assault that year.
In 2018, a PCSO arrested on suspicion of assault resigned after a misconduct investigation.
The figures obtained through a freedom of information request do not include the number of officers and staff who were charged or convicted after voluntarily attending interviews under caution, rather than being arrested.
The number of employees arrested over the four-year period equates to 0.6 per cent of the entire Dorset Police workforce.
Reasons for the arrests, as well as reasons for cases being dropped, are unknown.
A spokesman for the national Police Federation said the figures reflect how hard officers work to “weed out” a minority of criminals within their ranks while the government and policing experts say efforts are continuously being made to overhaul and improve police disciplinary processes.
DORSET Police is committed to identifying officers and staff who “fall short” of the force’s expectations, a police leader said.
Superintendent Pete Windle, of Dorset Police’s professional standards department, said: “The public quite rightly expects police officers and staff to behave with professionalism and integrity at all times. Maintaining public trust and respect is a fundamental principal on which policing stands and allows us to perform our roles in the most difficult of circumstances.
“Dorset Police takes a robust approach to identifying and dealing with any allegations that officers or staff have
committed criminal offences or breached the police standards of professional behaviour.
“I would like to reassure the public that the force has a dedicated professional standards department and a counter-corruption unit that proactively investigates and will take action against any
officer or staff member
identified as having breached the standards of professional behaviour or involved in
criminal or corrupt behaviour. However, I would reassure the public that the overwhelming majority of our officers and staff uphold the standards and values that we expect of them each and every day.”