Rasa - According to data released to Sky News under the Freedom of Information Act, forces across the UK employ at least 211 police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who have been found guilty of serious crimes.
The true figure is highly likely to be much higher, however, as only a third of police forces felt comfortable revealing how many of their officers have criminal convictions, with the majority insisting it would cost too much to collect the information.
Northern Ireland’s police revealed that 99 serving law enforcement officers had received convictions while employed by the force, including death by careless driving, possession of a firearm or drunk in charge of a firearm.
Kent Police announced that five of its 22 serving officers who had convictions were ranked “inspector or above”. Offenses included common assault, criminal damage and drunk driving.
In the East of the UK, Norfolk Police Force revealed that three of their officers had criminal convictions. They included one constable who had been convicted of battery, while another constable had been found guilty of possessing an imitation firearm in a public place.
It comes after London Metropolitan police officer Benjamin Hannam, 21, was charged with five offenses, including membership of the far-right neo-Nazi group National Action – a proscribed terrorist organization – between December 2016 and January 2018.
The serving policeman, who works as a probationary officer, also faces charges of possession of an indecent image of a child and possession of a prohibited photograph of a child. Hannam has been suspended from duty and bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in Central London on August 6.
In 2016, National Action became the first far-right organization to be banned by the UK government since World War II.
The conduct of UK law enforcement – particularly when coming into contact with black people – has come under the spotlight in recent weeks, sparked by the brutal death in May of 46-year-old American George Floyd while in police custody.
London Metropolitan Police Chief Dame Cressida Dick apologized on Wednesday for “distress” caused during the stop-and-search of Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos, footage of which went viral on social media.