MORE than 50 West Midlands Police officers and staff have been convicted for crimes including offences as serious as making threats to kill, possessing indecent images of children, voyeurism, causing death by careless driving and road rage, an investigation has revealed.

Between 2015 and 2019, 51 police officers and staff working for the force were convicted – Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit has discovered.

Of those, 29 police officers and one member of police staff were dismissed as a result of their conviction.

Misconduct hearings were due to be arranged in the cases of two officers convicted of motoring offences – while management action was taken following three separate motoring offence cases.

The other cases are either ongoing or the worker involved resigned or retired during the investigation phase. In one case of possession of cannabis the outcome was given as ‘unknown’ and in one case of speeding no further action was taken.

The figures were released in response to a Freedom of Information request. The number of arrests during that time period, however, could be higher as the force did not reveal how many officers and staff were arrested but not convicted.

It also did not reveal what criminal punishments were dished out for the array of offences which also included drink driving, stalking/harassment, outraging public decency, benefit fraud, shoplifting, speeding, driving without tax and insurance, fraud, witness intimidation, handling and intent to sell counterfeit goods - among others.

Inspector Jonathan Beach, from West Midlands Police's Professional Standards Department, said: “We expect the highest standards of those who work in the organisation and the vast majority of officers and staff uphold these high standards.

“The public should be reassured that West Midlands Police have procedures in place to deal with officers who fall below the force’s standards. Officers are not above the law and there is absolutely no place in policing for those who abuse the trust placed in us by the public.

“This is an essential part of West Midlands Police’s ongoing commitment to securing and maintaining the trust and confidence of the communities it serves.”

An award-winning former Dudley police officer was among officers dismissed for their offences.

Stourbridge News: Convicted former PC Paul DaviesConvicted former PC Paul Davies

Paul Davies, a former officer and Young Persons Officer with Dudley Police who was named West Midlands’ Beat Officer of the Year in 2009, was officially dismissed at a police misconduct hearing on May 9 after he was jailed for nine months after admitting making five indecent images of a child.

In Staffordshire - 13 police workers were arrested for offences including drink driving and sex offences.

Among the officers who found themselves on the wrong side of the law was police sergeant Jason Bannister, from Wombourne, who was jailed for 18 months last November after a fatal crash in Wolverhampton in December 2016 which killed 59-year-old shopkeeper Balvinder Singh.

Bannister, who admitted the offence, was, however, said by Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Gareth Morgan to have "served the public in exemplary fashion" and he was served with a final written warning and given the go-ahead to return to his policing role upon release from prison.

CC Craig Guildford, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Professional Standards, said: “The vast majority of police officers and staff fulfil their duties in serving the public to the highest standard. Society rightly expects the police service to act with honesty and integrity and any instance of conduct falling below that standard, or when a crime has been committed, will be dealt with directly based upon the evidence presented as nobody is above the law."

West Mercia Police did not provide any figures in response to the FOI request.

Nationally, 1,190 employees of 31 police forces across the country were arrested between 2015 and May 2019; 31 per cent of cases ended with a conviction or alternative action being taken against the individual by the criminal justice system (such as a fine or caution); 52 per cent ended in no further action being taken within the criminal justice system, although some of these cases resulted in internal disciplinary procedures being carried out.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We take integrity within policing very seriously and the vast majority of police officers and staff fulfil their duties to a very high standard and uphold the values of the Code of Ethics in serving their communities.

“Where officers fall short of these standards, the public rightly expects those officers to be investigated – particularly where a crime may have been committed.

“The Government is continuing to deliver wide-reaching reforms which overhaul the police discipline system. These intend to increase the accountability and transparency of the system, as well as ensuring that the measures are proportionate for policing as a whole.”