'Shocking' Met suspensions revealed

Nearly 50 Metropolitan Police officers were suspended for corruption over a three-year period, it has emerged.

Figures show that 49 officers were suspended over the allegation, with 15 cases proven, 18 unproven and 16 ongoing.

The details, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that a total of 258 were officers suspended between 2009-11 for offences including sexual assault, harassment and neglect or failure in duty.

Of these, 88 of the claims turned out to be proven or substantiated and 33 officers were dismissed from the force. Nearly half of those suspended were special constables, who are unpaid.

According to police regulations, officers can only be suspended under two circumstances - if they are likely to interfere with the course of an investigation or if it is in the public interest. As such, most suspensions occur when an officer is subject to a serious criminal investigation or a serious internal misconduct investigation.

Shamik Dutta, a lawyer who handles complaints against police officers, described the figures as "shocking".

She told the BBC: "In my experience when members of the public complain about police officers it is very rare for those officers to be suspended.

"However, even if they are, investigations can take far too long leading to victims of police misconduct suffering delayed justice."

A Met Police spokesman said: "Whilst we aim to investigate allegations of misconduct as quickly as possible, the length of an investigation is often determined by the complex nature of some allegations which can be beyond the control of the MPS as we may need to allow the judicial system or IPCC to complete their proceedings before the force can conclude an investigation.

"While our aim is always to carry out this work in the quickest and most efficient way possible, we also have to ensure investigations are thorough and robust for the benefit of the complainant, the general public, the force as a whole and the officer under investigation."