Police officers discplined over handling of theft case

Chelmsford Weekly News: Police officers discplined over handling of theft case Police officers discplined over handling of theft case

THREE police officers have been disciplined after giving a caution to a burglar.

An inquiry into the use of cautions by Essex Police was launched as a result of the error after furious victim Monique Carson complained.

It found cautions were genuinely used well by the force but there were also examples of serious crimes being written off.

Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston and former Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle launched the inquiry after it was brought to their attention following the raid at the home in Chelmsford.

Crook Ireneusz Blaszczyk, 24, has since had the caution withdrawn and will be sentenced on January 13.

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed a detective inspector, custody sergeant and another officer have been disciplined and subjected to management action.

This includes them receiving performance plans and advice about their decision making.

Following the error the Professional Standards Department looked into the case.

The crime, in February 2012, involved the theft of jewellery and a games console from a home in Chelmsford in November 2012.

After making admissions in interview Blaszczyk was given a simple caution that was authorised by the duty detective inspector and supported by the custody sergeant and officer in the case.

The Crown Prosecution Service agreed that the caution use was unsafe and charged the suspect with burglary.

Speaking at the time Mr Alston said: “Burglary is a serious crime and I expect the police and the criminal justice system to treat it seriously.

“To find a criminal has broken into your home and stolen property, some of which may have highly personal and unique qualities such as photographs of loved ones, is highly distressing.

“The review will make it clear whether this case is a one-off aberration, as I hope, or whether there is a more widespread problem with how the guidelines for cautioning are being followed in our county.”

Mr Barker-McCardle, who stood down in May, said: "Every bone in my body, every cell in my body, said this looked like a very bad decision by Essex Police.”

Miss Carson welcomed the review and the reversed decision to take the culprit to court.

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