June 2003

Suspended Pc’s pay defended

North Wales Police have defended their actions after they admitted continuing to pay an officer found guilty of making child porn.

Two months ago John Clare from Lixwm near Holywell was put on the sex offender’s register for five years, fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs for possessing and making child porn in 2001.

Mr Clare, who has been suspended on full pay since the inquiry was launched more than a year ago, will face a police disciplinary hearing next week.

North Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Clive Wolfendale said the officer was entitled to receive his wages until his future is decided.

“Before conviction people are innocent until proven guilty, if we choose to suspend someone we are duly obliged to suspend them with pay,” he said.

“North Wales Police have investigated this matter, brought it to trial and secured the conviction.

“John Clare will appear before a disciplinary committee next week, there is a set disciplinary procedure which must be followed.”

North Wales Police said the officer could face allegations which were not dealt with during the criminal proceedings and he therefore had to be given time to mount his defence.

“Being convicted of a crime is in itself an offence of the police disciplinary code,” said Mr Wolfendale.

Thirty-eight-year-old Mr Clare was found guilty at Knutsford Crown Court in April of three counts of possessing and making indecent images of girls under 16 on his home computer.

The policeman had previously received a bravery award for his actions during a gas explosion which destroyed a house in Flint.

He and another officer were at the property trying to persuade a man to come out when the blast occurred and he was thrown into the air and injured.

The hearing will take place at North Wales Police headquarters in Colwyn Bay.

Mr Clare’s punishment could range from a warning to dismissal from the force.