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Police refuse to identity officer accused of shoplifting

AN officer from Thames Valley Police has been caught apparently shoplifting.

But his or her identity is being protected – and the officer is not facing prosecution.


The force announced that a misconduct hearing will take place on Thursday, September 21, at Thames Valley Police headquarters in Kidlington, Oxfordshire.

Each week, the Newbury Weekly News and newburytoday.co.uk report from the courts, acting as the eyes and ears of our readers.

Defendants, including shoplifters, are routinely named, in accordance with the open justice principle.

But the chief constable, Jason Hogg, has imposed reporting restrictions at the forthcoming hearing forbidding the media from identifying his officer, who stands to be dismissed if the allegations are found proved.

Neither will a prosecution result in the officer appearing in open court, where he or she could be identified and would have a criminal record.

Instead, an out of court settlement has been agreed.

The force said in a statement: “It is alleged that the officer breached the standards of professional behaviour in respect of discreditable conduct.

“On February 26, 2023, while off duty, the officer was captured on CCTV in a shop taking items and making no attempt to pay for them.

“The value of the items stolen amounted to £26.75.

“The officer has been banned from entering the shop again and was issued with a penalty notice for disorder to the value of £90.

“The appropriate authority allege that if these allegations are proven, the conduct would amount to gross misconduct for which a finding of dismissal would be justified.”

When asked for the reason for the anonymity ruling, a Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “In adopting this position, the chief constable has carried out a careful balancing exercise involving factors of public interest, transparency and scrutiny of police misconduct versus the individual welfare of those concerned in the hearing.”

The police and crime commissioner (PCC)’s role is to be “the voice of the people and hold the police to account”.

The NWN asked Thames Valley PCC Matthew Barber whether he considered the anonymity ruling might damage public trust given the lack of transparency.

A spokesman for Mr Barber replied: “It would not be appropriate to comment on individual cases, although the PCC regularly discusses the misconduct process with the chief constable.”

In 2018, the then Newbury MP Richard Benyon criticised Thames Valley Police for witholding the identity of a high-ranking officer who compromised a drugs raid in a bid to protect their own son.

Although they were dismissed from the force, no criminal charges were ever brought against the senior official.

Instead, they were allowed to retire, quietly and anonymously, ahead of disciplinary proceedings.

At the time, Mr Benyon condemned that outcome, describing it as “worrying”, and said the officer should not be allowed anonymity.

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