PSNI officers disciplined over fraud probe failings

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Two police officers have been disciplined after an alleged case of fraud was closed prematurely.

The case stemmed from a woman’s allegation that her sister had been given around £7,000 by her father to lodge in his bank account, but instead lodged it in an account belonging to her brother.

A police officer was told by the suspect she had a bank statement proving her innocence.

He said he spoke to Social Services, who had seen that statement.

He added he was told by a supervisor to close the case because it was a civil matter.

It later emerged that the suspect was telling the truth, and she was not prosecuted.

However, the ombudsman said the initial enquiries were “insufficient”, and that police should have obtained a copy of the woman’s bank statement directly.

The investigating officer also admitted a remark to the woman who made the allegations, along the lines of: “You should be ashamed of yourself for fighting over your father’s money when he’s not even dead yet.”

He apologised for any offence, but did not believe it was inappropriate.

The PSNI disciplined him over the comment, and both he and the original supervisor on the case have been disciplined for “failing to properly investigate the alleged fraud”.