The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) says that it is committed to ensuring that officers and staff use resources appropriately and welcomes the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report ‘Abuse of Metropolitan Police issued AMEX cards’….
The MPA says that it worked with considerable effort and resources to pursue the misuse of Amex cards in the MPS and those officers who fraudulently used their Amex cards for personal gain have been identified, held to account through the courts or misconduct proceedings, resulting in dismissals and criminal convictions.
The case that started the investigations into Amex cards was initiated from within the MPA‚Äôs Internal Audit Directorate which received a ‘whistleblowing’ call. Amex claims from more than 3,000 officers were initially sorted, sifted, and reviewed within Internal Audit so that only those cases appropriate for investigation were forwarded to the Met Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards.
Any civil recovery issues of over claimed monies were also dealt with by the Authority. The cases involving the investigation of ACPO rank officers were decided by the Authority‚Äôs Professional Standards Cases Sub-committee.
The investigation also led to weaknesses in the corporate credit card system being identified. Some 34 recommendations were made by the DPS in full consultation with Met Police Internal Audit and Met Exchequer Services to be incorporated into a new corporate credit card system, with robust processes for handling expenditure claims.
The six Metropolitan Police officers have, since 2008, been convicted of criminal offences and 34 others subject to various levels of misconduct as a result of an investigation which began in October 2007 into the misuse of corporate credit cards.
The report published on September 28 by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) summarises the investigation which was carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service Directorate of Professional Standards under the direction of an IPCC Senior Investigator and overseen by IPCC Deputy Chair, Deborah Glass.
Some 60 officers and members of police staff were investigated. Of those, eight were charged with criminal offences ‚Äì six of whom were convicted – two were required to resign and four were fined. Two officers received an official reprimand, 24 received written warnings and two were given words of advice.
Details of the individual court cases have been publicised contemporaneously but this report draws together all the other outcomes as well to ensure there is a public record of the results of the whole operation.
IPCC Commissioner for London Deborah Glass said: ‚ÄúThis was a painful, protracted but necessary process to ensure that public money was properly accounted for, and that those who were exploiting the system for personal gain were held to account for their actions.
‚ÄúThe extent to which criminal activity and misconduct was able to take place inevitably says something about the environment of financial control in which it was able to happen in the first place, and it is important that the MPS has taken major steps, since these abuses were first exposed in 2007, to address this. However, they must be mindful that scrutiny of compliance with the new system must be regular and thorough at all supervisory levels.
‚ÄúUltimately it is individuals, not systems, who are responsible for acts of criminality or misconduct. I have no doubt that the lengthy processes of review and investigation, followed by court cases and sanctions, will have had a salutary effect on any others who may have thought the public purse was ripe for the taking. I hope that this also reassures the public that those who exploit the system for financial gain will not be tolerated.‚Äù