Five Police Officers Arrested

Five police officers were arrested as part of an anti-corruption investigation which reportedly centres on allegations that statistics were manipulated to meet crime reduction targets.

Four men and a woman, detectives from Kent Police, were questioned on suspicion of persuading suspects to admit to offences they had not committed to boost their unit's performance statistics, The Times said.

The claims, involving a detective inspector, detective sergeant and three detective constables working in a group dealing with persistent offenders, are said to focus on the suspected handling of undetected crimes which are later labelled "taken into consideration''.

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Five people arrested in Maidstone on Monday over allegations of administrative irregularities in the way prisoners had been dealt with have been released on police bail.''

Disclosure of the arrests comes on the day the public vote for the newly created role of police and crime commissioners, with many candidates vowing to drive down crime levels.

The officers have been suspended pending further inquiries into the allegations, confirmed the Kent Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers.

Its chairman, Ian Pointon, said officers faced "enormous pressure'' to meet performance targets and that failure to meet them can have a "detrimental effect on them personally''.

He said the federation, which represents 3,500 men and women with Kent Police, were supporting the officers concerned.

Mr Pointon said: "It would be wholly inappropriate for me to comment about the current investigation into the five officers.

"There is a process that must be gone through. They must not be subjected to a trial by media. We are supporting the officers.

"However, Kent Police has a performance culture that focuses too keenly on ticks in boxes. Targets are set for individuals, teams and the force as a whole.

"Officers feel under enormous pressure to reach those targets, particularly in relation to the rate of detected crime and crime reduction.

"That pressure is all pervading. Officers know that failure to reach those targets can have a detrimental effect on them personally.

"Since 2006 we have highlighted the negative impact of this pressurised performance culture, a culture that is more about quantity than quality. Sadly our legitimate concerns have all too often fallen on deaf ears.''

A spokesman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said: "We have received a referral on the Kent matter and we are currently assessing it to determine our level of involvement.''