Hundreds of Metropolitan Police Officers have been investigated for fraud after widespread abuse of corporate credit card abuse was revealed.
According to the Observer:
"Auditors who have examined the American Express accounts of 3,500 officers involved in countering terrorism and organised crime have reported almost one in 11 detectives to the Metropolitan Police's internal investigators.A senior officer appears to have spent £40,000 on his Amex card in one year, without authorisation. Items bought by others without permission include suits, women's clothing and fishing rods..."
"Sources have told the Observer that some detectives had fallen into the habit of withdrawing hundreds of pounds at a time from cashpoints. Other officers appear to have filled in blank receipts from restaurants to account for cash payments."
Of the more than 300 cases referred, only two officers have so far been prosecuted.
Anti-terror detective Richard de Cadenet was sentenced to ten months in prison after spending £73,000 on holidays, and a box at a premiership football club.
Another officer John Gallagher escaped conviction after using his Met credit card to pay off a bar tab.
As much as £3 million is thought to have been lost due to the abuse.
The investigation has taken over two years and specialist fraud investigators have been appointed to deal with the huge volumes of suspected abuse.
As many as forty cases are still currently under criminal investigation.
Director of the MPA audit Peter Tickner said today that some of the cases were "bordering on theft"
Reactions and links
Lib Dem MPA member Caroline Pidgeon said today:
More reactions as they come in.
"As a relatively new member of the Metropolitan Police Authority I have been concerned to learn about the serious credit card issues that had occurred in the Metropolitan Police over a number of years. This is public money and Londoners will want to be assured that systems are in place to ensure this can not happen again, and that robust action has taken place against those involved."