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Eight Merseyside Police gun crime officers suspended

Eight members of Merseyside Police's gun crime unit have been suspended for "inappropriate behaviour".

It follows allegations that three officers sold on eBay items seized during a raid, and the discovery of a photo showing officers behaving unprofessionally during another raid.

The officers are facing a misconduct investigation by the force's professional standards department.

Merseyside Police said high standards were "non-negotiable".

The Matrix unit leads the force's fight against drug-related gun and gang crime.

It played a significant role in targeting the gangs associated with the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, who was shot dead in Croxteth in August 2007.

'No charges'

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Ward said: "I want to be absolutely clear - high standards of professionalism are non-negotiable within Merseyside Police.

"Any suggestion that officers are not meeting those high standards is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated."

A sergeant and two Pcs were arrested for misconduct in March over the eBay allegations.

Three other Pcs were suspended and interviewed under caution last month.

It is understood the photograph, taken on a mobile phone, was uncovered during investigations into the first matter.

Two senior Matrix officers were also suspended from duty in connection with "wider managerial and conduct issues", Mr Ward said.

He added: "I would stress that no charges have been brought against the three arrested officers and a thorough criminal investigation is ongoing."

Merseyside Police has also imposed a shake-up of Matrix officers to try to restore public confidence in the specialist unit.

Mr Ward said: "Matrix is at the forefront of the fight against gun crime.

"Its officers do a difficult and demanding job, dealing with some of the most dangerous people in our society but high standards of professionalism and integrity are non-negotiable.

"The overwhelming majority of Matrix officers are a credit to our force but the actions of a small minority have a disproportionate impact on public confidence."

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