Mon, 02 Jul 2018
A HIGH-ranking police officer compromised a drugs raid in a bid to protect their own son, the Newbury Weekly News can reveal.
When challenged over the abortive operation, the officer then lied to cover their tracks.
But no criminal charges were ever brought against the senior official.
Instead, they were allowed to retire, quietly and anonymously, ahead of disciplinary proceedings.
Newbury MP Richard Benyon has condemned that outcome, describing it as “worrying”, and said the officer should not be allowed anonymity.
In April, the force issued a brief press relase which said simply that a police officer, now anonymised as ‘Officer B’, had been found guilty of professional misconduct after they “inappropriately shared information...that led to a suspect learning that a search warrant would be executed at his property in Thatcham”.
However, an official report of the disciplinary proceedings states that a female staff member used the police computer database to discover that Officer B’s son was at risk of being “caught up” in a police raid.
Officer B failed to report the staff member’s illegal search and instead warned the son, who passed on the intelligence, resulting in a “compromised raid”.
It also stated the officer was found guilty of “gross misconduct” and would have been dismissed had they not retired.
Asked whether the officer would be facing criminal charges for perverting the course of justice or wasting police time, and whether they would keep their force pension, the force failed to acknowledge repeat requests for the information from this newspaper.
But, following an intervention by Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, the force finally responded.
Spokeswoman Maeve Chappell said there would be no prosecution for Officer B, adding: “There’s quite a difference between not meeting professional standards and what would meet the threshold of criminal proceedings.”
And she confirmed that Officer B would be allowed to keep their police pension, as only officers who were jailed following a criminal prosecution would lose it.
Another spokesman for the force, James Williams, pointed out that the disciplinary hearing was conducted by a "legally qualified chair who is independent of the police."
He added that the chairperson had made "directions" following the hearing that the officer should not be identified in any way.
In January 2015, the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 were amended to prevent officers from resigning or retiring while they were under investigation.
But this was reversed in 2017.
Mr Benyon queried why Officer B had not faced criminal prosecution and added: “From what I’ve read and heard, I don’t see there’s any reason why anonymity should be allowed in this case.
“On the face of it, it would seem a matter of public trust that a person such as this should be identified.
“I’ve made enquiries and I’m awaiting a reply from Thames Valley Police about the matter.”