Entire police team sacked for playing poker while on duty

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SummaryThe entire team of police officers in a south-east London neighbourhood has been axed after a probe found they had been playing poker and cleaning golf clubs while on duty.

The entire team of police officers in a south-east London neighbourhood has been axed after a probe found they had been playing poker and cleaning golf clubs while on duty.

Seven officers resigned or were dismissed from Bromley's Safer Neighbourhood Team in the Mottingham and Chislehurst North ward.

It followed an undercover operation by the Metropolitan Police's Directorate of Professional Standards in 2010.

Disciplinary proceedings concluded on October 23.

One sergeant and a Police Constable were sacked after the Met's disciplinary panel found them guilty of gross misconduct, the BBC reported today.

Another Constable and three of the team's community support officers resigned, while a fourth was dismissed.

In a statement, the Met said: "The disciplinary panel heard evidence that officers from the team had played backgammon and poker whilst on duty, watched TV in the office, frequently failed to go out on patrol, had not worked full tours of duty and also claimed overtime that had not been worked.

"In addition, one officer had gone out for runs during the working day whilst a further officer cleaned his golf clubs in the office.

"These activities appear to have taken place at the expense of policing duties, such as patrolling the local area."

Neighbourhood teams were introduced by the Met in 2004 and were subsequently rolled out across the country.

Commander Allan Gibson, head of the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Directorate of Professional Standards, said: "These officers let the whole of the service down with their behaviour; but more importantly they let down their local community.

"There is no place for lazy attitudes in the MPS and those who are found to be failing in their duties will be held to account."

Criminal proceedings were launched against three officers following the findings of the internal investigation, the report said.

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