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Prolonged investigations into police officers, ruins lives, relationships and careers – as Richard Allen-Zoarder and his West Midlands colleagues can testify.
PC Allen-Zoarder was part of team which specialised in befriending gang members to gather intelligence and to try to turn young lives around. When a team member passed on a tip-off about a shooting incident, it resulted in West Midlands Professional Standards Department (PSD) becoming suspicious of the contact between police officers and gang members.
They arrested PC Allen-Zoarder a few months later for an allegation for allowing someone caught with drugs in their home to go free. “They basically said we had let him go in return for information,” said Richard. “That was plain wrong – we didn’t have the evidence, so it ended up as no further action.”
PC Allen-Zoarder’s home was raided in full view of his neighbours. His wife was in tears and the officer was the talk of his community. He ended up having to move away and put his children into different schools – “it was horrendous,” he said.
PC Allen-Zoarder was taken off his regular duties and denied overtime for three years and counting, which has had a significant financial impact. He was bedridden for two years with depression and feels PSD are conducting a “massive witch hunt”.
His former sergeant, also under investigation, was taken into custody and separated from her nine week old baby for 13 hours, despite telling PSD that she was breastfeeding and there was no milk in the house. PC Allen-Zoarder said: “She was the best sergeant I’ve ever worked for – a real rising star in West Midlands Police, and they treated her like that.”
He refuses to quit until he has cleared his name but there is no sign of light at the end of the tunnel. He feels his mental health and enthusiasm for policing has been destroyed. His chief constable, MP and police and crime commissioner are sympathetic but unable to help.