Police in Britain's biggest force are associating with criminals,
taking drugs and misusing their warrant cards, a secret Scotland
Yard report has revealed.
A wide-ranging corruption investigation, carried out last month,
found "inappropriate relationships or criminal associations"
among police officers and civilian staff posed "significant
threats" to the Metropolitan Police Force.
The report says a growing number of officers and staff are taking
drugs off duty. Cocaine and cannabis are the "drugs of choice"
and drug testing has been introduced for junior officers.
Further concerns include the number of police employees accused
of domestic violence and sexual assault while off duty, misuse
of the Police National Computer and abuse of warrant cards and
security passes by both serving and retired employees.
The report also reveals growing complaints about discriminatory
behaviour by police, despite anti-racism training.
The damning findings of the Strategic Intelligence Assessment, carried
out by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards, were intended
to remain secret. But the Metropolitan Police Authority released
the report accidentally on its website last week before its members
were due to discuss it.
After a complaint from Scotland Yard, the report was removed
from the website and the discussion on Thursday was held behind
closed doors. Asked by authority members why the session should
be held in private, Asst Comm John Yates, who heads the Met's
anti-corruption unit, simply said: "I do not want to explain
why in a public forum."
The report, by Det Chief Supt Gregory Faulkner, says the assessment
was intended to identify the "risk to the ethical health
of the Met posed by corruption, dishonesty and unethical behaviour".
It says one new area identified as a cause for concern is the
outside business interests of Met employees, which are not recorded
on a central register. The report warns "financial irregularities
and debt issues have been identified", pointing to "the
risk of corruption".
As a result, the Met is to review its policy on declaring business
interests, with a view to ensuring that anti-corruption officers
are made aware of employees whose outside interests might conflict
with their policing duties.
"Pro-active monitoring" of staff email and internet
use has helped to reduce the number of information leaks, the
report says. Misuse of the criminal intelligence system has also
The report adds: "Drug and alcohol abuse by Met employees
remains a significant threat to public confidence, specifically
in safety-critical posts. Intelligence shows misuse of controlled
substances by staff has risen slightly, with cocaine and cannabis
the drugs of choice."
Under new procedures, Met officers accused of committing violent
crimes while off duty will undergo a risk assessment to determine
what danger they pose.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The vast majority of Met
staff are hard working and professional, but it is the responsibility
of the Directorate of Professional Standards to identify the risks
posed to the organisation by the very small minority who behave
in a dishonest, unethical or un-professional manner.
Behaviour of this sort is investigated swiftly and thoroughly
and, where there is sufficient -evidence of criminal behaviour,
through the courts."
Defending the decision to suppress the report, the spokesman
added: "The Met considered that there would be a more open
and productive discussion about the issues in a non-public forum."
Corruption is a long standing problem for police chiefs. In 2003,
the Home Office estimated up to 2,000 officers and civilian staff
were "potentially corrupt".