Dozens of officers dismissed from Devon and Cornwall Police in five yearsDozens of police officers have faced dismissal from Devon and Cornwall Police over the past five years, new figures show.
Dozens of police officers have faced dismissal from Devon and Cornwall Police over the past five years, new figures show.
Data from the Home Office shows 25 officers have been dismissed from the force since April 2017 – including four in the year to March.
The figures refer to officers who were made redundant, have been made to resign, or have had their contracts terminated – including any asked to leave the force due to misconduct.
Across England and Wales 192 officers were sacked in 2021-22, up from 179 the year before.
Though dismissals are not always due to misconduct, the conduct of police officers has come under greater scrutiny in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens, who will never be freed from prison after losing an appeal against his whole life sentence last week.
Data from the College of Policing, a professional body, shows nationally 257 officers were placed on the 'barred list' in the year to March 2021 – the latest figures – including 10 in Devon and Cornwall.
This means they can no longer serve in the police, having been found to have committed gross misconduct while in the force.
The number of officers added to the list is higher than the number of dismissals, as many instead choose to resign or retire – 118 did so nationally in 2021.
The National Police Chiefs Council, a staff body for police leaders, said a "tiny minority" of police officers undermine public trust and confidence in policing.
A spokesperson said: “Where officers don’t meet the expected standards of behaviour they will be dealt with directly, and this could result in them losing their jobs or in the most serious cases, a criminal conviction.
"Everyone in policing needs to contribute to an inclusive, professional, and ethical culture.
“As a result of shining a light, more misconduct will be discovered, more officers will be sanctioned, leave the service or even be charged and convicted of crimes.”
Police forces are also grappling with increased resignations, the Home Office figures show.
The number of officers leaving the force has reached an all-time high across England and Wales, fuelled in part by a surge in voluntary resignations.
In the year to March 3,653 officers resigned, a significant increase on the 2,154 the year before, and including 48 in Devon and Cornwall.
But despite this, there has been a net increase in the number of police officers nationally, with new recruits being hired as part of the Government's pledge of 20,000 new officers by 2023.
Dr Sarah Charman, professor of criminology at the University of Portsmouth, said retention should be a "priority" for policing bodies.
"Resigning police officers talk of their love for their work and their colleagues – police forces need to consider how to better value that commitment."
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The public put their trust in the police and expect them to carry out their duties to the highest professional standards.
“Dedicated and decent police officers are the majority, but the minority who fall short of the standards expected of them must be dealt with robustly and fairly.”