West Yorkshire homicide team chief is country’s most senior police officer convicted since 2012

Hundreds of police officers have been convicted of offences in the last three years including sex crimes, assaults and possessing indecent images of children, new figures have shown.

Forces across the UK revealed 309 police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) were convicted of offences from 2012 to June this year.

But the number of convicted officers is thought to be much higher, as only 25 out of 45 forces provided figures to the Press Association.

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Currently at least 295 police officers and PCSOs with convictions are serving with the police, according to separate figures from 18 forces.

Most forces refused to reveal how many of their officers had previous convictions because of the cost of retrieving the information.

The highest ranked officer to be convicted since 2012 was a detective chief superintendent at West Yorkshire Police for drink driving, according to the Freedom of Information Act figures.

David Knopwood, head of the force’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, was sacked for gross misconduct last year after admitting driving while twice the legal alcohol limit.

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West Yorkshire Police said that since 2013, 10 police officers and one PCSO were convicted of criminal offences.

Two male officers and a female officer were convicted assaults, three male officers were convicted of drink driving, two male officers were convicted of drink driving and one male officer was convicted of fraud. A female PCSO was also convicted of theft.

The force did not name the officers who were convicted of offences. It also refused to say how many officers in the force had a criminal conviction because retrieving the information would exceed the time limit set out under freedom of information laws.

Humberside Police said a male PCSO was convicted of sexual offences in 2012 and a male Pc was convicted of assault this year.

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Neither North Yorkshire Police or South Yorkshire Police provided details about recent convictions.

Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on professional standards and ethics, said: “One year on the code of ethics is now well embedded across the service and clearly sets out the standards of professional behaviour expected of officers and staff.

“When members of the service fall short of these standards well established and rigorous processes are in place to ensure appropriate action is taken.

“The decision by a force to retain someone with a conviction will have been carefully considered and only taken following a clear, national and regulated process.”