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Cop Who Admitted Downloading Child Porn Suspended On Full Pay

Despite pleading guilty, PC Rupert Watkins has been on full pay since last summer

Cop Who Admitted Downloading Child Porn Suspended On Full Pay

A Metropolitan police officer who was caught downloading the highest category of child abuse images is still receiving a full salary of £40,000 a year

Even though the officer had pleaded guilty, he remains employed by Scotland Yard after an internal misconduct hearing which was due to take place in February, was suspended for another month.

The Evening Standard reports:

PC Rupert Watkins, 45, downloaded over 100 images on his phone including Category A, which depict penetrative sexual activity with children.

Scotland Yard has still not sacked the officer and in February his internal misconduct hearing was suspended for almost another month.

The force says it is bound by Home Office guidelines meaning Pc Watkins cannot be sacked until it carries out an internal misconduct hearing.

However, a hearing can take place in an officer’s absence and be fast-tracked when the evidence is strong.

It today led to Scotland Yard being accused of “dragging out” the case and calls for it to be fast-tracked.

Watkins, who lives in Bromley with his wife — also a Met officer — earns about £40,000 a year.

He claims he became depressed at work after being taken off the beat for nine months while being investigated for alleged homophobic comments about colleagues, which he says he was cleared of.

He viewed the images after becoming addicted to adult pornography and turning to drink, he admitted.

Intelligence, gathered by the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre after he visited monitored websites, was passed to Scotland Yard’s Paedophile Unit.

The force suspended him last July when he was arrested. Watkins, who  viewed 45 Category A images, 23 Category B and 47 Category C, pleaded guilty at Westminster magistrates’ court in December to three counts of making indecent photos of a child.

There is no suggestion he manufactured images. He was sentenced at Southwark crown court in January.

Watkins was stationed in Bromley but has worked across London since joining the Met in 1996. He told the Standard: “I got addicted to normal pornography and I was also drinking. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

He claims he clicked on links to child abuse websites advertised on adult pornography websites, adding: “Until they sack me they can’t not pay me.”

Watkins was given a two-year community order with an activity rehabilitation requirement, is on the sex offenders’ register and was ordered to pay £560 costs. He is in therapy.

His misconduct hearing was due to take place on February 29 but did not go ahead due to another case “overrunning”.

Harry Davis, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “When cases end up dragging on like this, it is taxpayers who end up picking up the bill.”

The Home Office said: “We have reformed the police complaints and disciplinary systems to make them more transparent, more accountable to the public and to bring corruption and misconduct to light.

“We have also introduced legally qualified chairs for disciplinary hearings, which are now held in public, and we are giving the Independent Police Complaints Commission responsibility for all serious and sensitive cases.”

The Met said Watkins’ hearing  “was arranged for the first available date after his misconduct review was completed. As it was not possible to hold the hearing… it will be held on the earliest, next available date.