A WEST Midlands Police officer was allowed to keep his job despite being caught picking up a call girl.

The sergeant, who was prosecuted for soliciting, was among 27 cops working for the force who remained in employment despite having criminal convictions dating back to 2005.

The highest number, six, were for drunk and disorderly offences, but others included domestic assault, drink driving, public order, harassment and data protection offences.

The details emerged in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to police forces across the country.

The statistics also revealed a total of 24 Staffordshire Police officers had criminal convictions – one of whom was an inspector prosecuted for assault – while the figure was ten in the West Mercia area. Warwickshire Police refused to provide information on the grounds of cost.

Nationally, almost 1,000 police and community support officers had criminal records.

Det Chief Insp Danny Long, of West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Department, said the figures should not be misrepresented.

He said: “One officer convicted of a criminal offence is one too many, but it would be irresponsible if these figures were to be taken out of context.

“All officers convicted of an offence are subject to the usual criminal investigation and internal misconduct proceedings, as the public would expect.

“Whenever a serving officer is convicted of a criminal offence, the actions leading to the conviction and the details behind the decision of the court are then considered as part of the misconduct process.

“In each case consideration is given as to whether the standards of professional behaviour have been breached and, where they have been, the sanctions available range from no formal action to dismissal.”

The Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest force, came top of the list with 356 officers and 41 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 the West Midlands.

Home Office guidelines issued in 2003 said police officers should have “proven integrity” because they are vulnerable to pressure from criminals to reveal information.

The guidance said forces should reject potential recruits with convictions for serious offences – including causing actual bodily harm, burglary, dangerous driving and supplying drugs – unless there were “exceptionally compelling circumstances”.