Seventy Norfolk police officers punished for misconduct

Seventy police officers in Norfolk have been sanctioned or sacked for misconduct in the past three years, new figures have revealed.

Fourteen Norfolk Constabulary officers have been dismissed since 2008 for misconduct ranging from breaching confidentiality rules and gross incompetence to criminal offences and discreditable conduct.

The figures, obtained using the Freedom of Information Act, also revealed a further 56 officers had been sanctioned for misconduct since 2008.

A handful of the officers were suspended or placed on restricted duties while investigations were carried out by Norfolk police's professional standards department.

The force says all evidence is carefully and objectively reviewed, giving due regard to the nature and circumstances of the employee's conduct.

In deciding what standard of service a person could reasonably expect, an 'objective test' is applied on the available facts – while police say regard is also taken of any agreed service standards and any national guidance relevant to the matter.

If a police officer or member of police staff's conduct is considered not to have reached the standards a reasonable person could expect, then it will be determined whether the allegations answer to misconduct or gross misconduct.

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Superintendent Bernadette Cartwright, from the professional standards department, said: 'Police officers and staff are expected to deliver the highest standards of personal and professional behaviour.

'These standards reflect the expectations the public have of how officers and staff should behave. A hearing will be held when the matter has been determined as gross misconduct. If proven, dismissal is justified.'

The statistics show that, in 2008, 16 police officers were sanctioned for misconduct and three dismissed.

The following year, 20 were sanctioned and six dismissed, while last year saw 20 sanctioned and five dismissals.

Sanctions included fines, reductions in rank and written warnings and all the hearings took place in private.

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