A total of 10 police and community support officers currently serving with the West Mercia force have a criminal record, official figures out today reveal.

The officers are among 944 nationwide who have committed crimes, the majority of which are motoring related.

Others however include burglary, causing death by careless driving, robbery, supplying drugs, domestic violence, forgery and perverting the course of justice.

The figures nationally include senior officers, among them two detective chief inspectors and one chief inspector working for the Metropolitan Police.

The statistics were released by 33 of the 43 forces in England and Wales in response to Freedom of Information requests.

Many forces could not provide details of criminal records dating from before their staff joined the police, meaning the true figure will be significantly higher.

The Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest force, came top with 356 officers and 41 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) with convictions.

It was followed by Kent Police (49), Devon and Cornwall Police (44), Essex Police (42), South Yorkshire Police (35), Hampshire Police (31) and West Midlands Police (27), although not all the figures are directly comparable. Most of the convictions are for traffic offences.

Home Office guidelines say police officers should have ‘proven integrity’ because they are vulnerable to pressure from criminals to reveal information.

The guidance says forces should reject potential recruits with convictions for serious offences, including causing actual bodily harm, burglary, dangerous driving and supplying drugs, unless there are ‘exceptionally compelling circumstances’.

No-one was available at West Mercia Police to comment