More than 1,000 police officers are still serving despite criminal convictions including assault, kerb crawling and perverting the course of justice.
There are 77 serving policemen with convictions for violent offences, and 36 with convictions for theft.
Almost one in every 100 policemen has been convicted, many while they were in post.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, who uncovered the figures with Freedom of Information requests to every force, said the public would be ‘staggered’ that so many of the people entrusted to protect us from crime have criminal convictions themselves.
‘It is even more worrying that so many police officers convicted of serious crimes involving dishonesty or violence have been allowed to keep their jobs,’ he said.
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‘The public entrust the police with the use of legal force precisely because they are self-disciplined and restrained, which is why anyone convicted of a violent offence should be dismissed.
‘I cannot see how a police officer convicted of dishonesty can perform their duty effectively, as any prosecutor would be reluctant to call them as a witness for fear of being taken apart by the defence.
‘The public will be rightly concerned that there are serving police officers who have committed crimes as serious as GBH, assault, wounding and robbery.