By ASHLEE MULLANY
WA police officers have been convicted of nearly 250 criminal offences over the past five years including sex crimes against children, serious assaults, burglary and dangerous driving.
Figures obtained by The Sunday Times from WA Police Internal Affairs show 347 charges have been laid against 100 officers after complaints from the public and internal investigations since 2008.
The database reveals 11 officers have been convicted of a string of offences in the 2012-13 financial year, including a senior sergeant failing to stop after a crash, dangerous driving, stealing as a public servant and aggravated assault.
More than half the criminal charges for the past five years were for misusing police computers, which includes illegally using the police database to uncover personal details.
Other charges included disorderly conduct in a police station, refusing a breath test, forgery and burglary. Some officers were penalised for failing to store their firearms properly.
WA Police Union president George Tilbury said the figures amounted to less than 2 per cent of the police workforce.
"Police officers are also members of our community and they are not immune from societal influences," he said.
"Police do a difficult, dangerous job and deal with stress and trauma that most people would never encounter in a lifetime. Criminal conduct is not condoned, but there are often mitigating factors and every case should be assessed in isolation."
Of the 68 officers convicted of 248 charges, five were handed prison sentences for their crimes, including dangerous driving causing death, stealing and unlawful use of police computers.
Another officer was jailed for 10 counts of indecent dealing and six of sexual penetration of a child under 16.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Adams said WA Police had a strong focus on the "ethical health" of the agency.
He said it published information on charged officers when it was in the public interest.
"Any information that alleges misconduct by any police officer is thoroughly investigated and where evidence identifies criminal behaviour to the required standard the matter is progressed in line with the DPP Prosecution Guidelines," Insp Adams said.
"The public interest is always carefully considered in our endeavours to be open and accountable."
Release of the figures comes after a Bunbury police officer pleaded guilty this week to assaulting a man in a hotel carpark. The court was told the off-duty officer approached a man he believed was going to break into a car last month and forced him to the ground. He received a spent conviction and a $4500 fine.