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Chief apologises for upset caused by 'insensitive' actions of officer


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Force to review 'disrepute' fears in change-of-direction over WWII memorabilia trader.

Holocaust memory: Officer sold Auschwitz artefacts on eBay

Holocaust memory: Officer sold Auschwitz artefacts on eBay

Date - 18th October 2018
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle


A force will probe the case of one of its officers who sold Auschwitz artefacts on eBay after originally accepting “no crime” had been committed.

Chief Constable Nick Adderley has stepped in and ordered an investigation to determine whether his Northamptonshire force has been brought into disrepute – and if PC Matt Hart has breached professional standards.

The chief officer has also apologised to the public and those within the Jewish community “offended” by the officer’s “insensitive and ill-judged” actions.

The apparent change of emphasis by Mr Adderley’s intervention comes after PC Hart was caught trading in World War II memorabilia – eventually closing down a spare-time business after a ticking off from the Northants force worried about its reputation.  

The force pointed the officer towards his “moral” compass after discovering he was off-loading Auschwitz items on eBay.

The Rushden community officer had been selling barbed wire and other goods described as “fence insulators” during the early part of this year.

The force reacted to “moral and ethical” concerns after the online business – in which he was thought to have been assisted by a female relative – was uncovered in an investigation by the Jewish Chronicle.

The items have now been withdrawn from sale and the eBay account de-activated.

Although removing and selling relics from the infamous camp – where one million Jews were killed during the global conflagration – is illegal in Poland, it is permitted under UK law.

The Northants force says its Professional Standards Department spoke “at length” to PC Hart about the nature of the business after being brought to its attention.

But it later admitted: “We can confirm the officer had previously declared a business interest in line with force policy but following questioning it was determined that no actual legal wrongdoing had taken place.

“However, following our intervention, the officer has, voluntarily, permanently removed the items in question from sale and is now in the process of closing down the business.

“We are satisfied that, at this stage, no offences have been committed.”

But now the chief constable has become personally involved, telling Police Oracle: “Having reviewed the case, I have now requested colleagues in Professional Standards to consider if the matters arising have brought the force into disrepute and whether the officer concerned should now be investigated for a breach of standards of behaviour that may have brought the force into disrepute.

“Such insensitive and ill-judged actions by any member of the police service demand a robust and comprehensive response.

“I would expect all members of the police service to understand and appreciate their actions are subject to public scrutiny and I would like to apologise to members of the public, and especially those within the Jewish community, who have been offended by the sale of this memorabilia by a serving member of Northamptonshire Police.”

Northamptonshire PCC Stephen Mold has called for a “robust response” to a “totally distasteful” and “questionable trade” while Northamptonshire Police Federation said it had advised the officer not to comment at this stage.

View On Police Oracle

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