Met Police officer sacked for 999 calls failures

A Met Police officer has been sacked for leaving people in potentially dangerous situations by mishandling dozens of 999 emergency calls.

The 58-year-old Pc, who has not been named, was based at Bow Central Command Centre in east London.

An investigation led by watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission found that between May 1 and July 26 in 2009 the officer received approximately 3,000 emergency calls. Of these, 141 were found to have significant performance issues, with 19 considered to amount to gross misconduct.

These included the officer failing to provide a response to domestic abuse and assaults, rape, a suicide threat, potential armed break-ins and a road traffic collision.

The issues came to light after a woman dialled 999 to report a domestic assault.

After difficulties with the officer taking the correct spelling of her surname, she ended the call in frustration. The officer involved closed the call log and failed to provide a police response.

The caller later brought her experience to the attention of a family friend who was a call handler working at Bow.

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A supervisor was informed, the call identified and reviewed and the police officer removed from answering 999 calls pending analysis of his previous performance.

The investigation that followed reviewed all of the calls dealt with by that officer including a follow-up on any calls which may have been mishandled to ensure no-one had been put at risk.

It was also found that on logging details of seven of the calls, the officer altered the last digit of the caller’s telephone number by one digit. He later explained he did this to avoid conflict with his supervisors.

The investigation was concluded in June 2010 and submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service which found insufficient evidence to bring criminal proceedings.

Deborah Glass, IPCC Commissioner for London, said: “When the public call 999 for help from the police, they should receive an immediate, professional and sympathetic response.

“This officer not only did not provide that response, in some cases he deliberately obstructed their attempts to get help, and left some callers in continued danger. It is a matter of luck – and the persistence of those seeking help - that his actions do not appear to have resulted in serious harm to a member of the public.

“It beggars belief that a police officer whose job was to help people in distress should have behaved in such an appalling and callous way.”