Not one single police officer in Wales has been prosecuted for police corruption over the last four years despite scores of complaints, we can reveal.
In Freedom of Information responses to questions from Plaid Cymru, the four Welsh police forces disclosed that none of their officers ended up in court after internal inquiries found them culpable.
While three of the forces went as far as disciplining officers who had allegations upheld against them, Dyfed-Powys Police failed to take any action against officers.
The data also found that only a fraction of complaints were upheld.
Between April 2008 and December of last year, Dyfed-Powys Police recorded 80 allegations of improper disclosure, 36 allegations of corrupt practice and 141 allegations of irregularity in evidence/perjury. Only 16 of these allegations were upheld.
In answer to the question about what disciplinary action or criminal prosecutions have resulted from the upheld allegations, the force replied: “I can confirm that there is no information held by Dyfed-Powys Police. This is as a result of the fact that none of the ‘upheld’ allegations…resulted in disciplinary action or criminal prosecutions.”
Over the same period, Gwent Police received 56 complaints which resulted in two being “proven”. There are also three “on-going” cases. They said there had been no criminal prosecutions, but two cases of disciplinary action.
South Wales Police received 57 complaints of police corruption, of which just one was substantiated. That resulted in disciplinary action but not a criminal prosecution.
North Wales Police recorded the fewest complaints of police corruption of all the Welsh forces, with 14 since April 2008. None of these were substantiated to date although three are ongoing and three were “waived by the IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission]”.
Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Plaid Cymru’s spokesman on policing at the National Assembly, said: “It is deeply concerning that no Welsh officers have been prosecuted in a court of law after being found guilty of corrupt practice in the eyes of their employers.
“Of greater concern is the fact that Dyfed-Powys Police did not even see fit to discipline any of the officers they found guilty of wrongdoing.
“It is very important that the police are not placed above the law and immune from the consequences of any wrongdoing.
“Their conduct should be of the highest standard and, if it is not and deemed to be criminal, they should face the judicial process.
“Standards within police forces need to be very high if public confidence is to be maintained. The four Welsh police forces need to bear this in mind very carefully when allegations of police corruption are upheld in internal inquiries.”
Plaid Cymru advocates the devolution of the criminal justice system and policing to Wales, as has been done in Northern Ireland recently. Scotland has long had control over criminal justice and policing.
Plaid Cymru’s position on the devolution of policing and criminal justice was recently reinforced in its substantial submission to part two of the Silk Commission, which is examining whether the Assembly should get power over more policy areas.
Mr Thomas added: “This again begs the question of why the Labour Party prefer [Tory Home Secretary] Theresa May running Welsh police forces and the criminal justice system.
“Time and time again the Labour party has given excuse after excuse as to why devolution of policing and criminal justice to Wales should not happen.
“It is about time they caught up with public opinion on this matter. Are they afraid a Labour Welsh Government would not do as good a job of running the police as a Conservative and Liberal Democrat Westminster coalition?
“A Plaid Cymru Government would not be afraid to take on extra responsibility and powers for the good of the nation.
“We would welcome the extra workload in order to have the opportunity to improve the criminal justice system and to bring policing more in line with Welsh needs.
“If it can work in Northern Ireland and Scotland, there is no reason why it can’t work in Wales.”
First Minister Carwyn Jones recently said he favoured giving responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government, although that view is not shared by many Welsh Labour MPs.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman said, “To state that no officers (or staff) have been prosecuted after being found ‘guilty of corrupt practice’ is misleading.
“Public complaints allegations are specifically categorised in accordance with national guidance at the point the allegation is made. For example, an allegation may be received about receiving a fixed penalty ticket and the person receiving it challenges the accuracy of the ticket. This type of allegation can be categorised as ‘irregularity in evidence/perjury’.
“Each and every allegation is proportionately investigated to establish firstly whether based on the evidence available there is merit or otherwise in the allegation made. If there is such merit, an assessment is then made of whether there is evidence to support a case to answer for either a criminal offence and/or misconduct. There are situations where there can be merit in a case specific allegation resulting in a complaint being upheld – but no evidence to support there being a case to answer either criminally or for misconduct. Despite this, action can still be taken internally (which does not amount to formal misconduct action) in the event of individual or organisational learning being identified.
“Any allegation of corruption is treated seriously and the integrity of our officers and staff is paramount. Since 2008, some 29 people have left Dyfed-Powys Police either during or as a consequence of misconduct proceedings being taken for a variety of reasons including allegations of lacking honesty and integrity.”
Gwent and South Wales Police forces declined to comment. Details of the corruption cases found proven have not been revealed.
News published on http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2013/03/10/no-welsh-police-corruption-prosecutions-despite-scores-of-complaints-91466-32955394/