Police behaviour probed in South Yorkshire

Detective Supt. Terry Mann holds a press conference in Roman Road, outside Elmfield Park.
Detective Supt. Terry Mann holds a press conference in Roman Road, outside Elmfield Park.
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Police in South Yorkshire launched more than 100 ‘self-generated’ investigations into the conduct of colleagues in a year, The Star can reveal.

Officers and staff were probed by the force’s professional standards department over allegations referring to fitness for duty, honesty and integrity, and use of force.

Other allegations made between March 2012 and April this year concerned staff’s respect and courtesy, equality and diversity, following orders and – mostly – duties and responsibilities.

The figures – obtained by The Star under the Freedom of Information Act – show five arrests were made as a result of investigations by the department into conduct – while another 388 complaints came from the public.

The conduct cases refer only to incidents generated from within the force and may arise from a death in custody, a police vehicle collision, or if a supervisor raised concerns about a colleague’s conduct.

Investigations into complaints can take months – one recent case lasted eight months.

Detective Superintendent Terry Mann, head of the professional standards department, said: “Because we do it so thoroughly – we don’t want to let guilty police officers walk free - it does take quite a while.”

He said where gross misconduct was found, the department’s staff would do ‘whatever we can to ensure the truth comes out’.

Data shows 60 of the conduct cases were found to have a ‘case to answer’.

Investigations can result in sanctions such as a warning or dismissal – the force is now publishing the dismissal of any officers on its website.

The majority of cases – 68 – referred to male staff, while 16 involved women.

In 2011-12, there were 72 conduct cases reported, while the year before it was 94.

Former South Yorkshire Police constable Jonathan Webb, of Millhouses, was this week warned he faces jail after admitting stealing more than £20,000 from a vulnerable 94-year-old woman he befriended.