NSW Police recruited criminals who had notched up 414 convictions before they entered the force, including 40 cases of stealing, 20 cases of break, enter and steal, more than 100 drink-driving offences, plus fraud and dishonesty.
Figures obtained under freedom of information laws reveal that 595 offences were committed by 437 police officers, or about one in 40 police still on active duty. Of those offences, 70 per cent were committed before they were employed as police officers.
There are well over 100 high range PCAs, there are more high range PCA than low level PCA.
The figures put pressure on Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, who has said that most convictions by serving officers were for low-range drink-driving and similar offences.
Former police officer Richard McDonald, who obtained the figures, said it was ‘‘just unfathomable you can let police in who have convictions for serious offences, including fraud, break and enter, drug offences and firearms’’.
Of the 260 drink-driving offences recorded by police, including those by senior officers on the force and those committed pre-employment, 202 were medium or high range.
‘‘NSW Police has been recruiting criminals found guilty of serious offences,’’ Mr McDonald said. ‘‘That’s why the number of offences has gone up. This flies in the face of [Mr Scipione’s] claim that most are low-range drink-driving offences.’’
Mr Scipione has stood by his statement on Saturday that the majority of convictions ‘‘were for a low-range PCA [prescribed concentration of alcohol] or similar offence’’.
‘‘While I’m not happy about that [convictions by police officers], I don’t believe these warrant the end of a police career,’’ he said.
However, of the 260 drink-driving offences, only 58 were low range. Of those, 52 were committed before employment as police officers.
Of the 174 drink-driving offences recorded by officers before they were employed by the police, 118 were for medium or high range.
Of the 35 drink-driving offences by senior constables, 32 were in the medium or high range. Six serving sergeants committed high or medium drink-driving offences.
Other offences recorded by senior police include five cases of assault occasioning bodily harm, one case of common assault and several convictions for providing false information. Mr Scipione said the recruitment process, which had been strengthened in 2009, involved a range of checks.
On its website, the NSW Police Recruitment branch says it conducts a review of any criminal history information of any potential recruits.