London

Report reveals Metropolitan Police credit card abuse

Forty Metropolitan Police officers have been convicted or disciplined about the misuse of corporate credit cards, a police watchdog report has revealed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said after a review of 3,530 card holders, six officers were convicted of criminal offences.

Another 34 were either required to resign, were fined, given reprimands, warnings or words of advice.

A total of 60 officers and police staff have been investigated since 2007.

'Painful and protracted'

The report summarises all the cases investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Directorate of Professional Standards under operation Cosperville.

The IPCC said an initial review of American Express card holders showed £3.7m had not been paid back or was unaccounted for and that 1,019 Metropolitan (Met) employees had used their cards in contravention of the force's policy.

Of those that were convicted, two were made to resign and four were fined.

Two officers received an official reprimand, 24 received written warnings and two were given words of advice.

IPCC Commissioner for London Deborah Glass said: "This was a painful, protracted but necessary process to ensure that public money was properly accounted for, and that those who were exploiting the system for personal gain were held to account for their actions."

Greater accountability

As a result of the review, the Met has made "significant" policy changes relating to the use of corporate credit cards.

This included introducing greater accountability and consistency, limits on spending and a reduction in timescales for officers to reconcile their accounts.

An MPS statement said: "We have identified and held to account those who fraudulently used their AMEX card for personal gain, ensuring that officers who made a quick profit from the public purse faced the consequences of their actions through the courts or misconduct action.

"As well as routing out dishonest behaviour, an important part of the investigation was to identify weaknesses in the corporate credit card system and introduce new measures to improve governance and compliance."

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