Merseyside Police sacks five Matrix officers

Officers from Matrix unit
Image caption The picture was uncovered during another investigation

Five officers from Merseyside Police's Matrix unit, which tackles gang crime, have been sacked for gross misconduct.

It comes after images of them "behaving inappropriately" during a search of a suspect's home came to light, a force spokeswoman said.

All five were constables. A sergeant was dismissed in May.

"We expect the highest standards from our officers and these officers fell far short of that expectation," Deputy Chief Constable Bernard Lawson said.

"Our residents and communities have the right to expect our officers to act professionally and with integrity at all times so that they can have confidence in the work that we do.

eBay allegations

"As a force we believe it is important to take swift and decisive action when officers are found to have fallen short of the standards we expect and in this case we have done just that."

The force is still investigating claims three officers put items seized during a raid for sale on eBay.

Two of the sacked PCs and another officer, who was dismissed previously, remain on police bail in connection with that investigation.

It is understood a photograph, taken on a mobile phone, was uncovered as officers investigated allegations that their colleagues had tried to sell seized items on eBay.

Mr Lawson said Merseyside had seen a 26% decrease in gun crime in the past three years.

'Disproportionate impact'

"That is in no small part down to the good work of the Matrix team," he said.

"They do a difficult and demanding job but we are quite clear: High standards are non-negotiable.

"The overwhelming majority of Matrix officers are a credit to our force and we are very proud to have them work for us.

"I am disappointed that the actions of this small minority of officers have had a disproportionate impact on public confidence and our community relations.

"I hope, by taking the action we have today, that our communities can be confident in our commitment to high standards of conduct and our continuing determination to fight crime in Merseyside."

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