Police accused of helping criminals by selling old items of uniform on

first_imgPolice are selling old items of uniforms on eBay to plug a funding gap, as campaigners accused the force of helping criminals to impersonate officers.Sussex Police, which has a £26.5million funding shortage, is listing items including used police high-visibility jackets on the auction website, it has emerged.A group representing victims of crime has raised fears the equipment could be used by fraudsters targeting the elderly.It has emerged just weeks after an elderly couple in Brighton, East Sussex, which is covered by the force, were scammed out of £9,000 by two bogus police officers.Stephen McCarthy, the director for England of the Action on Elder Abuse charity, said: “It’s not going to be bringing in an awful lot of money and it seems a bit strange – why take that risk for such small amounts of money?”Sussex Police said the items have “police branding and insignia removed”, with profits going back to the force. Other listings on the police eBay page include items found or confiscated by the force during police raidsA Sussex Police spokesman defended the force’s decision to sell the surplus equipment. Items for sale on the Sussex Police Auctions eBay pageCredit:eBay When it comes to things seen to be identified with police officers, it seems to be sending the wrong messageStephen McCarthy, director for England of Action on Elder Abuse He said: “As these items are assets all the money goes back to Sussex Police towards the running of the eBay shop and back into areas such as the uniform stores.”By selling these items we have been able generate significant income for the force which would not previously have been available as well as being able to save a significant amount on our waste costs.”The spokesman added: “Items sold are no longer suitable to be re-used by Sussex Police and all items have any police branding and insignia removed.”Without this branding they are just generic items which can easily be purchased – standard hi-vis jackets and combat trousers etc.”We remove the blue and white hatching from uniform even though these items can be purchased elsewhere on eBay.”He said “contentious items” such as armour and handcuffs are never sold online and the eBay site is approved by senior officers and the force’s own professional standards department.What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below. Items for sale on the Sussex Police Auctions eBay page Police branding has been removed from the clothes, but Mr McCarthy feared it makes fraud “that little bit more easy” for crooks.He said: “We regularly see stories about people impersonating police officers as a way to commit scams against older people.”There’s an argument I think the police would make that these items can possibly be found elsewhere if you want to buy them, and we would not want to disagree.”When it comes to things seen to be identified with police officers, it seems to be sending the wrong message. I think they should probably be restricted from selling these sorts of items.”If Sussex Police stop selling these garments today it’s not going to stop people committing these crimes, but why make it that little bit more easy?”It’s fine to say the insignia is removed, but often when we see these cases the uniforms that have been worn aren’t exactly precise replicas.”In December two criminals dressed as police officer convinced two pensioners, a 72-year-old woman and a 74-year-old man, to hand over £6,000 and £3,000 respectively. One item is listed online as a “Gore Windstopper Tornado Fleece Jacket Large Short Black Security Yaffy”. The new and unworn black jacket is described as Sussex Police equipment, which is “surplus to requirement”.There is also equipment such as UV flashlights and hi-visibility jackets listed for as little £9.99. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img

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