Most of you will recognise this offence. It used to be reserved for officers caught shagging on duty but now it is often used for convicting officers of offences when the uPSD can’t be arsed proving a substantive offence. Generally it is a charge which follows an investigation (I use that term lightly) which has involved an element of utter incompetence by a uPSD officer such as trying to prove a GBH when the injury is actually only a sec 39 Common Assault and running out of time. You know the sort of enquiries.
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The ones where it doesn’t look good because the TV footage has been edited to show the violent officer bits. It isn’t in the public interest to have the true picture shown as that does not sell newspapers or TV advertising. The old press adage of why let the truth get in the way of a good story applies. There is an injury involving a broken nail extension or a hair being put out of place which the uPSD perceive to be grievous but a doctor readily identifies it as a minor injury but only after the 6 month time limit has run out for common assaults.
The uPSD then set about proving the Misconduct in a Public Office offence instead of looking to investigate the event and providing the evidence to the appropriate authority. Too often, in my experience, do they statement those who can provide damning evidence and day book entry those who support the defence. A recent experience of a colleague is a case in point. Facing a excessive use of force matter the evidence in the form of cctv and a statement from the baddie was damning. Thanks goodness for an old detective fed rep who looked at those persons who hadn’t provided a statement but were mere entries in a pocket notebook and spoke to them. Four statements later the picture had changed and the evidence now supported the actions of the accused officer. What happened to the uPSD officer ~ NOTHING. One can only surmise what the outcome would be if the shoe were on the other foot.
I have often wondered why only Police Officers ever seem to get convicted of this offence. Surely there are other public officers and certainly some of them must have been caught bonking their secretary over their desk, perhaps. MP’s must be public officials, councillors? Fire Officers, nurses, there must be others. What other jobs constitute public office?
The elements of misconduct in public office are:
a) A public officer acting as such.
b) Wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself.
c) To such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.
d) Without reasonable excuse or justification.
It is intriguing why I cannot find a single occupation other than police officers facing this offence. Why is this? Are all cops so bad that they all go around on heat looking for the moment to strike or are we all so deliberately bad at our jobs that we deserve to be prosecuted. This is further confirmed by the plethora of good news stories about nurses who fall for their patient or firemen marrying the damsel in distress saved from a burning tower but none of them get their private life hauled in front of the courts and I am sure there is probably a little bit of the old touchy feely jiggery pokey thing going on even when on duty. After all, my investigations have uncovered that the uniform of fantasy for most women is the fireman’s even though the stories about Policeman’s Balls are legend. A recent “nursie” story spoke of a marriage between a soldier and a nurse as soon as he got out of hospital following injury. Good Luck to them both but do you really think that there wasn’t just a little bit of light relief going on? I don’t know and I don’t really care. I have news for uPSD’s of all occupations, there is probably a little bit of shagging going on behind the scenes of any good news story without one whiff of scandal.
You have been found guilty of looking harassed in a public place. This is Misconduct in a Public Office and you shall rot in jail for LIFE
The more sinister aspect to this love tryst is the fact that I could understand that shagging on duty was a Misconduct in a Public Office. We are all aware of those rogue officers whose actions should lead to charges but now the uPSD and the CPS are using Misconduct in a Public Office for nearly everything else meaning we have officers facing serious criminal charges for minor offences. We have officers being routinely investigated for Misconduct in a Public Office because it is the new uPSD buzzword. It’s never a Reg 15 notice for just theft, perjury and assault any more, there has to be a Misconduct in a Public Office allegation. A message for uPSD. Investigate realistic offences and you might shorten your next enquiry by a couple of years.
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Interestingly, as I sit and write, I have been emailed a copy of a Cambridge Law Journal titled: Police behaving badly – the abuse of misconduct in office (Attoney General’s Reference (No. 3 of 2003), re  EWCA Crim 868;  Q.B. 73 (CA (Crim Div)). R – v – W  EWCA Crim 372;  3 W.L.R 165 (CA (Crim Div)).
Spookily, it talks about a sense of unease in the Court of Appeal of a police officer being prosecuted for misconduct in a public office rather than a simple fraud or theft. In the quoted case, which I won’t reproduce here, the officer has been convicted and successfully appealed to retrial. I don’t know what the result is but I anticipate that the local uPSD have “incompetented” themselves out of a theft or fraud conviction because they have over egged the pudding.
Next Time: How to spot your average uPSD officer and the role requirements to “stick it to a colleague.”