Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Police officers caught stealing and abusing

Issue No. 2670

police

A police cordon (Pic: Cory Doctorow/Flickr)


A detective who stole £9,000 related to murder cases from a police safe has been jailed.

Detective Sergeant David Sharpe worked for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit when, in a “snap decision”, he took the cash.

A court heard his actions had been used in one trial, in which the accused were acquitted of murder, “to undermine the police and the investigation”.

He was jailed for 20 months after admitting two counts of theft.

Sharpe, who had been suspended from duty, had previously received a commendation for the very highest standards of detective work.

Cambridge Crown Court heard the cash he stole had been seized by police during two separate murder investigations and placed in a safe.

Prosecutor Marti Blair said on18 March a police detective went to check if the money from one of the cases had been banked but found it missing.

It was subsequently discovered that money related to another investigation, named Operation Mocha, had also disappeared. Sharpe later admitted to taking the money, saying he “planned to pay it back”.

Three men were cleared of murder when Operation Mocha came to trial. Judge David Farrell told the court, “The activities of the defendant figured in the case meant the defence were able to use the facts of the defendant’s dishonesty to undermine the police and the investigation.”

  •  A Police Community Support Officer has been sacked for ­targeting female crime victims with sexual messages.

Julian Randall-Stratton was found guilty of misconduct in public office after investigators discovered he was obtaining the contact details of women and girls after they reported offences.

The cop was handed a suspended six-month prison sentence and a ­night-time curfew, which bans him from leaving home between 7pm and 7am.

  • A police sergeant who sent an explicit photograph of himself to an undercover officer posing online as a 12-year-old girl admitted grooming offences.

Stephen Shaw, of West Midlands Police, contacted the fake profile of a child on social media—not realising that he was talking to a colleague in the same force.

After telling the girl she could “pass for 15”, the 46-year-old officer made numerous comments about sexual acts and sent her a picture of his penis.


  • First they prorogue parliament, now the Westminster Dog of the Year contest, due to take place in the park by the House of Lords on Thursday, has been cancelled because of concerns about protests against the hounds’ owners. It’s a ruff decision for the only disciplined and loyal members of the government and opposition. So much for “Rex, sit” means “Rex, sit”
  • A quarter of people fear they will need to cut their family food budget to keep their home warm this winter, a survey by moneysupermarket found. And three-quarters said sacrifices would be made, such as using savings.


Paterson’s think tank pays for itself

Former Defra minister Owen Paterson has had £39,000 worth of flights paid for by a kindly “think tank” called UK 2020.

The organisation was set up and run by Paterson himself.

Its donors are unknown but they’ve jetted him off to Washington to meet US politicians.

The Electoral Commission ruled that, as its sole director is a political party member, UK 2020 must be regarded as a members’ association rather than a company.

This means it would have to reveal any donor who gave more than £7,500.

The commission said in March that no donations exceeded £7,500, so the donors did not have to be revealed.

Just to make doubly sure though, Paterson resigned as director of UK 2020 on 20 June.

Paterson works for Lynn’s Country Foods, Hi-Peak Feeds and Randox Laboratories.


Payday loan sharks promising kittens

Payday lenders are luring people into debt by urging them to borrow for manicures, junk food and a chance to meet a kitten.

But the loans have been slammed by debt charities, who say they can cause “very real hardship”.

Cashfloat, with an annual interest rate of 997 percent, describes its debt plans as “fun money”.

Insisting it should not be used to cover emergencies, it urges, “Instead, it’s money spent purely as the mood strikes you and on non-essentials.

Lending Stream runs an online competition for an animal charity to bring a kitten to your workplace. Its short term loans carry interest charges of 1,333 percent a year.

And Loan Pig gives tips on apprenticeships and packed lunches, while lending at an annual 1,261 percent.


Queen Elizabeth kills lobsters

Fishers say the dredging of a harbour to berth the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has created an “ecological and economic” disaster.

In the past five years, ten million tons of material from Portsmouth, home of the ship, and Southampton has been dumped in the Solent.

Fisher John Kennett, of Freshwater, Isle of Wight said, “There have been no small lobster since last August, which indicates they are not strong enough to survive in the silt now lying on the sea bed.

“This is an environmental disaster and an economic disaster for fishing businesses.”


Help to buy a ‘major failure’

Help to Buy has feathered developers’ nests but done little to turn tenants into home owners, a study says.

Shelter found 0.2 percent, or 4,100, of the private renting households in England earning £30,000 or less used the scheme last year.

Polly Neate, from the charity said, “It’s a major failure that boosts the bank balances of big developers but has nothing to offer the average renter.”


Social care is ‘on the brink’

The social care system is at risk of “total collapse”, an Age UK study warns.

Research suggests the total home care delivered dropped by 3 million hours between 2015 and 2018.

And the charity claims the sector is in desperate need of a long-term plan and substantial funding.

Age UK’s Caroline Abrahams said older people increasingly face being left to “fend for themselves”.


The things they say

‘Bees have an advantage in that they cannot accidentally set off landmines’

Ross Gillanders who is training bees in bomb disposal. Though the bees may not be willing participants—they keep stinging him

‘Everyone will have the food they need’

Michael Gove, the cabinet minister responsible for the government’s no-deal Brexit preparations seeks to reassure the public

‘When I hear the name “Boris Johnson”, for some reason the words “rope” and “nearest lamp post” come to mind as well’

Author Philip Pullman, who later deleted the tweet and apologised

‘He knows exactly what he’s done and I hope he comes clean about it’

Virginia Giuffre when asked about Prince Andrew after a hearing for victims of dead abuser Jeffrey Epstein


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