MUGGERS, flashers, suspected rapists and alleged domestic abusers passed vetting checks to join the police, a report reveals.
Some new recruits were cleared despite having criminal records, large debts and close links to organised crime, the investigation discovered.
Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said last night the number of dodgy cops recruited “in the last three or four years” could be “in the low thousands” in the rush to meet recruitment targets.
A “culture of misogyny” was also exposed in all eight forces investigated by the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
Inspectors probed eight forces — Cumbria, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Kent, the Met, Nottinghamshire, South Wales Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
The probe was ordered by ex-Home Secretary Priti Patel after the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met cop Wayne Couzens.
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Of the 725 police vetting files reviewed, the watchdog found 131 cases where new recruits were cleared to begin duties “where the decision was questionable at best”.
Its inspectors were “unimpressed” by forces’ decision-making in almost a fifth of 264 police complaint and misconduct probes.
An online survey of 11,000 cops and support staff also revealed that “an alarming number” of women made allegations against male colleagues.
These included sexual harassment and sexual assault.
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Porn was often sent to female officers’ phones.
Mr Parr said: “It’s too easy for the wrong people to both join and stay in the police.
“If the police are to rebuild public trust and protect their female officers and staff, vetting must be much more rigorous and sexual misconduct taken more seriously.
“We found evidence of poor decision-making in police vetting, inconsistent handling of misconduct cases and a lack of effective monitoring of officers’ IT use.
Yet despite repeated warnings — including several from us — not enough has been done to improve standards and stamp out misogyny and predatory behaviour in policing.
“The police must do more to prevent unsuitable people from joining in the first place, identify any misconduct within the force, and quickly dismiss officers and staff if they are not fit to serve the public.
“Given the risks involved with recruiting officers at the scale and speed required by the uplift programme, it’s essential police leaders act now on our recommendations.”
The watchdog called for 43 changes including tougher pre- employment checks and better intelligence gathering over corruption.
College of Policing Chief Constable Andy Marsh vowed to put the recommendations into practice.
He said “thorough and effective vetting” was key to assessing the integrity of officers and staff, adding: “It allows us to be as sure as possible that we have the right people working for the service.”
Couzens sparked probe
MURDERING cop Wayne Couzens was the spark for the probe into police forces.
The fiend was sentenced to a whole life term for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
Diplomatic protection cop Couzens, 48, of Deal, Kent, abducted Sarah, 33, in Clapham, South London, in March last year.
He got her into his hired car by showing his warrant card and falsely arresting her for breaking Covid rules.
Blunders and poor rulings in vetting
A WOULD-BE special constable who exposed himself to a woman seven times in a fortnight made it through a force’s vetting.
Cops rejected him three times in 13 years before finally agreeing to hire him after an appeal.
A COMMUNITY support officer from a criminal family was allowed to transfer forces despite not declaring that he beat his partner before he became a PCSO.
Vetting officers agreed it would be “harsh” to turn him down.
ONE officer said he was accused of rape as a teenager and, as a juvenile, was cautioned for shoplifting.
No measures were put in place to monitor him to minimise risk.
Another was investigated over a sexual assault at a club.
NO attempt was made to check an applicant’s claim that he was estranged from his gangland brother, who was “of interest” in murder and kidnap probes.
Also, no measures were put in place to reduce corruption risks.
ONE would-be cop had robbed an 80-year-old woman as a juvenile nearly 20 years before.
Another, a former drink driver, was probed for racially aggravated criminal damage where the victim was an off-duty special constable.
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INSPECTORS found that a chief constable had overruled his vetting unit to approve the transfer of an officer facing sex assault allegations — the main reason for rubber-stamping “largely” that it would “make the force more diverse”.
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