Kerb-crawling ex-vice cop demoted

THERE was condemnation today of a decision by the Metropolitan police to allow adetective found guilty of flouting Ipswich's ban on kerb-crawling to return to duty.

Grant Sherlock

THERE was condemnation today of a decision by the Metropolitan police to allow a

detective found guilty of flouting Ipswich's ban on kerb-crawling to return to duty.

Mark Daniel, a former vice squad officer, has been given the go-ahead to return to his well-paid job after a Met tribunal demoted him from the rank of detective sergeant to detective constable.

Daniel, 34, of Grimwade Close, Brantham, had faced the prospect of being booted out of the Met after he was found guilty of soliciting a prostitute despite the town's zero tolerance crackdown on the men who create a demand for the sleazy sex industry.

However, a disciplinary panel opted not to dismiss him when it convened yesterday.

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Speaking from behind his front door today, 34-year-old Daniel refused to comment on his demotion but the Met revealed the disciplinary hearing had paved the way for the married father-of-two's return to work.

A Met spokesman said: “Mr Daniel has been reduced in rank from a detective sergeant to a detective constable and his suspension has been lifted.”

She added when he will return to duty “will be determined in due course”.

Prior to the disciplinary hearing he had been placed on restricted duties, albeit on full pay.

The decision sparked harsh criticism from a former Ipswich sex worker who now sits on the steering group charged with solving Ipswich's street prostitution problem.

Charlotte, also a former working girl in a massage parlour in the town, said: “A former vice squad officer knows it's against the rules.

“I thought he'd be kicked out of the force for that because it's blatant disrespect for the rules.

“All people will see from that is a police officer can get caught for kerb-crawling and still keep his job.

“He's had a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again. It doesn't send a good message. It just says 'don't worry about it'.”

Daniel denied the offence but was found guilty after a trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court. He lost a subsequent appeal.

The Brantham parish councillor is expected to face a pay cut along with the demotion.

Others said Daniel had suffered considerable punishment having been convicted and now faced the “disgrace” of being demoted.

Liz Harsant, Ipswich Borough Council leader and a trustee of the Somebody's Daughter fund, created to help vulnerable people, said: “Maybe he's learnt from his mistakes. I'm not quite sure taking his job away from him would have been the right answer.

“It's a disgrace in itself to go down a rank in the police force and he will have to live with that.”

Ipswich MP Chris Mole, also a trustee of the fund, said: “What he did was very stupid and not really the sort of conduct you expect of a police officer, particularly one who's worked in that area. I think it's a fairly serious punishment. I don't know what extenuating circumstances he may have put before the tribunal.”

Daniel is among 120 people arrested by Suffolk police for kerb-crawling related offences since the launch of the crackdown.

He remains a serving member of Brantham Parish Council.

Members of the council met to discuss his conviction for soliciting a prostitute and, based on legal advice from Babergh District Council, he was allowed to retain his position.

Paul Revell, the parish council chairman, described Mr Daniel's position on the council as “a sensitive matter”.

When asked if the legal advice from the district council was that Mr Daniel could not be removed from his position he said: “You've hit the nail on the head.”

Daniel has continued to attend meetings, according to Mr Revell.

“He was at the last meeting which would have been the first Wednesday of the month.”

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