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Former Dorset officer to pay back £100k for 'unfit to work' fraud

The former PC had previously admitted a charge of fraud by false representation.

An investigation by Dorset’s Counter Corruption Unit had uncovered former PC Matthew Littlefair’s offending.

Between October 2017 and July 2020 he had fraudulently claimed to be unfit for work – offending that amounted to £111,226.56.

On October 30 2017, he was involved in a minor traffic collision while off-duty and was treated in hospital for injuries including whiplash and back pain. 

After being discharged from hospital, he reported as unfit for duty and took sick leave.

In April 2018, PC Littlefair attempted a return to work with adjustments including working from home and reduced hours. However, he claimed his pain and symptoms were so severe that he could not continue.

In September 2019, a medical practitioner determined PC Littlefair could no longer perform his duties as a frontline police officer based on information the officer had given him.

He was offered an ill-health award, which required a formal review in five years’ time.

PC Littlefair appealed the decision, claiming he was unlikely he would be able to work again in the future and an appeal hearing was initially set for March 2020.

He received his full salary during this period.

An investigation by the force’s Counter Corruption Unit began in January 2020 and was supervised by the IOPC.

A search of his home address in May 2020 found six pharmacy bags with prescription medication dating to October 2019, only two had been opened and a small quantity of the medication taken.

Seizure of digital devices also revealed that the former officer had been “leading an active life throughout his period of sickness.”

He was suspended from duty following an interview by officers on May 28, 2020.

He was sentenced last November to two years and three months imprisonment following a guilty plea.

This week during a POCA hearing, the court ruled that he would pay back the full figure of more than £100,000 after the available amount was found to be £131,216 – which included the value of the offender’s home.

Littlefair had resigned from the force prior to the sentencing and internal misconduct proceedings had found him guilty of gross misconduct – concluding that he would have been dismissed had he been serving.

Detective Constable Scott Brimicombe, of the Economic Crime Unit, said: “Matthew Littlefair’s offending saw him fraudulently claiming his publicly funded salary for a significant period of time while he was claiming to be unfit for work.

“We are determined to use the legislation available to us under the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure that wherever possible offenders are forced to repay the funds they have obtained through fraudulent means."

Superintendent Paul Kessell, Dorset Police’s Head of Professional Standards said: “This was a totally unacceptable crime that in no way represents the ethics of the police service or the thousands of hard working staff and officers who protect the public every day. We fully support the court's decision and ruling.”

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