ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE LAW; EXCLUSIVE pounds 500,000 A YEAR FOR DISCIPLINE PROBE POLICE How 27 cops retire while under investigation and keep their pensions... and YOU help pay for it.Byline: By Jack Mathieson
TWENTY-SEVEN Scots cops in the last five years have avoided misconduct inquiries by retiring, a Daily Record investigation has revealed.
The officers all kept their pensions and it's believed they are pocketing at least pounds 500,000 a year between them.
The taxpayer helps foot the bill for the police's generous pension scheme.
Angry politicians called yesterday for tougher laws to allow more cops who disgrace the uniform to be stripped of pension rights.
Those calls are backed by grieving families and crime victims who have seen internal police probes into their cases derailed when cops retire early.
Often, disciplinary inquiries are simply halted if the officers involved quit.
The Record used freedom of information law to obtain the retirement figures.
We found that 12 officers from Strathclyde, six from Fife, four from Lothian and Borders Lothian and Borders is an area in south-east Scotland consisting of the East Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian areas (collectively known as Lothian) along with the Scottish Borders. , two from Tayside and one each from Central Scotland Police Central Scotland Police is the police force covering the Scottish council areas of Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire (the former Central region). The headquarters of the force are at Randolphfield House in Stirling. and Northern Constabulary The Northern Constabulary is the police force responsible for Northern Scotland, covering the council areas of Highland, Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Western Isles), the Orkney Isles and the Shetland Isles, which comprise most of the Highlands and Islands area. have retired since 2003 while the subject of disciplinary inquiries.
The officers could have faced pay cuts, demotion de·mote
tr.v. de·mot·ed, de·mot·ing, de·motes
To reduce in grade, rank, or status.
[de- + (pro)mote. or the sack if found guilty.
If all the cops involved were constables with 30 years' service, they would be enjoying a combined pension payout of pounds 432,000 a year.
But the true figure is likely to be more than pounds 500,000. Some of them held much higher ranks and were entitled to far bigger pensions.
The most senior Scots officer to quit while under investigation in the last five years was Keith Cullen Keith John Cullen (born June 13, 1972 in Ilford, Greater London) is a long-distance runner from England, who represented Great Britain at the 2000 Summer Olympics in the men's marathon. He finished in 19th place, clocking 2:16:59. , the deputy chief constable Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) is the second highest rank in all British territorial police forces (except the Metropolitan Police, in which the equivalent rank is Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and City of London Police, in which the equivalent rank is Assistant of Northern Constabulary.
In 2003, Cullen was facing an inquiry into the way his force dealt with complaints about their handling of a young man's death.
But he retired prior to facing disciplinary action and walked away with a pension of around pounds 45,000 a year and a six-figure lump sum Lump sum
A large one-time payment of money. .
Cullen was set to be quizzed over the case of Kevin McLeod Kevin McLeod (born 12 September 1980 in Liverpool, England) is a professional footballer, currently playing for Colchester United in the Football League Championship. His preferred position is as a left-sided midfielder.
McLeod is a product of the Everton F.C. Academy. , 27, whose body was found in Wick Harbour in 1997.
The police said Kevin's death was an accident. His family insisted he was attacked and dumped in the harbour.
An inquiry by an outside force found that Cullen had a case to answer over the way his officers handled the family's complaints. He refused to take part in a Police Board hearing and retired days before it was due to take place.
Kevin's family were outraged by the decision to halt the inquiry. And they were horrified hor·ri·fy
tr.v. hor·ri·fied, hor·ri·fy·ing, hor·ri·fies
1. To cause to feel horror. See Synonyms at dismay.
2. To cause unpleasant surprise to; shock. yesterday when the Record told them how many other under-fire officers had followed Cullen's example by retiring.
The dead man's uncle, Allan McLeod, said our figures were "stunning". He called for the system which allows such retirements to be totally overhauled.
Allan, 49, of Alness, Ross-shire, said: "We believe that, should an officer retire or resign prior to disciplinary proceedings, any rights including their pension should be frozen pending the outcome."
The Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland, Jim Martin, has called for a rethink over whether misconduct cases should be halted when cops retire.
Ministers are looking into how such cases are handled, and Martin said: "I recommend that the Scottish government The Scottish Government (SG) (Scottish Gaelic: Riaghaltas na h-Alba) is the executive arm of government of Scotland. It was established in 1999 as the Scottish Executive consider this point as part of its review."
In April this year, the Record revealed that a policeman had been allowed to retire on full pension despite being a convicted sex offender sex offender n. generic term for all persons convicted of crimes involving sex, including rape, molestation, sexual harassment and pornography production or distribution. .
Creepy Constable Andrew Burt was found guilty in September last year of groping grope
v. groped, grop·ing, gropes
1. To reach about uncertainly; feel one's way: groped for the telephone.
2. two women and slapping another on the bottom. His victims included a mother and daughter.
Married Burt, 50, attacked the women in a drunken rampage at Cockenzie and Port Seton Cockenzie and Port Seton is a unified town in East Lothian, Scotland, situated on the coast of the Firth of Forth, four miles north east of Musselburgh. The burgh of Cockenzie was created in 1591 by James VI of Scotland. Bowling Club in East Lothian.
He was convicted of indecent assault and given 150 hours' community service. The sheriff told him: "If community service did not exist, I would not have the slightest hesitation in sending you to jail."
Police chiefs have the power to strip criminal cops of their pension rights but a probe into Burt's conduct took so long that he retired before it was completed.
An officer with his length of service, 30 years, can expect a pension of pounds 16,000 a year and an pounds 80,000 lump sum.
One of Burt's victims, Lorna Higgins, 45, said yesterday: "I just can't understand why Lothian and Borders Police Lothian and Borders Police is the police force for the Scottish council areas of the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian. The force's headquarters are in Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh. were unable to take any action against him. To my mind, he should have been sacked the day he was found guilty."
Labour MSP (1) (Management Service Provider or Managed Service Provider) An organization that manages a customer's computer systems and networks which are either located on the customer's premises or at a third-party datacenter. Paul Martin, the party's community safety spokesman, said the Burt case was "completely unacceptable".
He called on justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to speed up moves to stop disgraced cops retiring to avoid being fired.
Martin said the Record's inquiry proved the need for action on the issue of early retirement. He said the public expected the highest standards from the police and added: "If they don't live up to those levels, that should put at risk their access to their pension."
But the body that represents front-line officers, the Scottish Police Federation, pointed out that cops can only be stripped of pensions if found guilty of serious crimes.
General secretary Joe Grant said: "There must be very few professions where internal matters would be deemed so serious that an employee would be prevented from retiring."
Several other cases of police early retirement have made the news in Scotland.
In 2002, Superintendent Paul Hughes retired from Central Scotland Police on health grounds while being probed over claims that he helped "fix" entrance exams for six women recruits.
And in 1998, Grampian cops Gordon Thomson and Alex Nicoll were allowed to retire early with full pension rights on medical grounds after being accused of bringing the force into disrepute dis·re·pute
Damage to or loss of reputation.
a loss or lack of good reputation
Noun 1. .
Thomson, an inspector, and Nicoll, a sergeant, had faced claims that they made "careless" allegations of corruption against the force's head of CID Cid or Cid Campeador (sĭd, Span. thēth kämpāäthōr`) [Span.,=lord conqueror], d. 1099, Spanish soldier and national hero, whose real name was Rodrigo (or Ruy) Díaz de Vivar. .
No action was taken against the pair after an eight-month investigation.
Talks are now going on to make sure inquiries into police misconduct continue even if accused officers retire.
A Scottish government spokesman said yesterday: "We are considering putting guidelines in place."
The issue will be considered by the Police Advisory Board next month. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland is the collective organisation of Chief Constables, Deputy Chief Constables and Assistant Chief Constables from the eight Police forces in Scotland. said: "We have made our views known to the board and will engage in further debate in the coming weeks."
'If police officers do not live up to high standards, that should put at risk their access to their pension'
CALL FOR CHANGE: Jim Martin; DEATH PROBE: Kevin McLeod; SHAKE-UP PLEA: Kevin's uncle Allan; QUIT Keith Cullen got a pension of around pounds 45,000 a year and a six-figure lump sum after retiring.; QUIT Sex pest Andrew Burt was able to retire and keep his pension even though he had been convicted of indecent assaults; QUIT Paul Hughes retired on health grounds during investigation over claims that he helped to "fix" recruits' exam results; QUIT Gordon Thomson retired, with full pension rights, after eightmonth inquiry into claims that he brought his force into disrepute