Dalian Atkinson killing: Call to tighten police recruitment after Pc jailed
A leading Telford councillor has called on the Home Secretary to introduce more rigorous police recruitment procedures after a West Mercia Police constable was jailed for killing football star Dalian Atkinson.
Telford & Wrekin's Councillor Kuldip Sahota, a recent candidate in the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner elections, described Pc Benjamin Monk as a "ticking time bomb" in the force.
Monk was last week jailed for eight years for the manslaughter of the retired Premier League player in Trench, Telford, in 2016, following a confrontation during which Monk tasered the former Aston Villa star six times longer than standard then kicked him on the head.
Following his trial it emerged that the Malinsgate officer had previously been subject to gross misconduct proceedings relating to his failure to declare cautions for theft and drunkenness on his application form, but bosses allowed him to keep his job.
Councillor Sahota said it was time for vetting procedures of potential police students to be reviewed and he was writing to Home Secretary Priti Patel about the case.
“This is beyond belief that in this day and age someone who has already committed two gross misconduct acts and lied on his application to join the police was allowed to stay in the police and trusted with the public safety," said Councillor Sahota.
“Pc Monk lied on his application when he joined the police force in 2001 and then nine years later when his two offences of theft and drunkenness came to light - yet he was still allowed to continue to serve the public with just a warning.
“It is a sad fact that this could have been avoided. If the warning signs were there and red flags were raised, why wasn’t anything done?
"Serious questions need to be asked here. Who decided in 2010 that Pc Monk should be let off with just a warning for his lying and misconduct?”
Councillor Sahota added: "We all know the hard and difficulty job the police do every day for which we are all grateful. However, accountability and the safety of the public is important. Our systems and checks must ensure we filter out the bad apples.
"We need to ensure this incident does not reflect all the other hard working officers, but for that to happen we need to look at how Pc Monk slipped through the net and was allowed to carry on with his duties.
"I would like to call upon the Home Secretary to introduce a new and more rigorous vetting procedure to ensure such incidents do not make the headlines again," the ward representative for Malinslee & Dawley Bank said.
Monk, now 43, is due to face a misconduct hearing on Friday relating to the death of Mr Atkinson, 48. The force said he was due to answer allegations that his conduct amounted to a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, namely discreditable conduct.