Former Bristol police officer sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work for theft

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By matt_2009 | Monday, November 12, 2012, 13:27

A former Bristol police officer has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work following an investigation launched when his colleagues raised concerns about his behaviour.

Michael Purnell appeared at Gloucester Crown Court today (Monday November 12) having pleaded guilty to theft at an earlier court appearance. After considering the circumstances he was given a six-month sentence suspended for 15 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

The sentence is the culmination of a year-long investigation. Purnell was a constable based at Trinity Road Police Station in Bristol where his colleagues became concerned that property was going missing. These concerns were reported to senior officers and an investigation was launched by Avon and Somerset Constabulary's Professional Standards Department.

During the course of the investigation it was identified that property handed to Purnell went missing and was later found at his home address. Purnell was suspended and left the organisation.

Speaking after court Superintendent Wylie, Head of Professional Standards, said: "Michael Purnell was arrested following a police operation; he was suspended from duty whilst under criminal and internal investigation. In committing theft he has tarnished the reputation of the police service and his colleagues who are honest, hard-working and committed to protecting our communities. It was his colleagues who reported his behaviour and I commend them for rightly bringing this matter to my attention. They reflect the professionalism of police officers and staff throughout the organisation.

"We expect the highest standards of professionalism and behaviour from all our staff. This case demonstrates that we will not hesitate to take robust and appropriate action against any member of the force who we believe may have breached those standards. I hope that this shows our communities that they can have the highest level of confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the police officers and staff who serve them."

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