A police officer in Northamptonshire has been found to have committed gross misconduct for selling items from Auschwitz and Nazi memorabilia on eBay.
Police Constable Matthew Hart was revealed last year by the JC to have, together with a relative, Paula Hart, administered an eBay account by the name of ww2autographs, which sold memorabilia from Holocaust extermination camps. At the time, the police force said that “no wrongdoing had been identified”, but it since decided that PC Hart’s eBay activity “contravened his declared business interest”, and he was hauled before a discplinary panel.
The panel found no evidence of criminality nor any indication that the sales were motivated by any extremist ideology or Nazi sympathies. Instead, it concluded that PC Hart had “a genuine historical interest in this period of history.”
Nevertheless, it decided: “The officer has shown an extreme lack of judgement and insensitivity which is not fully acknowledged. He sought to justify his conduct at every step and offered a rationale which cannot be accepted by the panel…He manipulated the listings…with a view to frustrating eBay policy over a significant period of time. He was not open and transparent with his own force. There is a failure to embrace [his own] responsibility and a lack of recognition which troubles us going forward. We lack faith in his judgement and compliance with matters requiring openness and self-regulation in future.”
Although removing items from the death camps is illegal under Polish law, it is not illegal under English law, nor is there any suggestion that PC Hart was himself involved in removing the items.
PC Hart has a right of appeal.