Police officer who sold Auschwitz relics on eBay dismissed

A disciplinary hearing panel said what had ‘been taken and done was insensitive and inappropriate in the extreme'


A police officer in Northamptonshire has been dismissed for selling relics from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on eBay.

PC Matthew Hart was previously revealed by the JC last year to have sold the relics through eBay account ww2autographs, including four lots of barbed wire.

On Tuesday, Northamptonshire Police revealed he had been dismissed without notice for gross misconduct.

A disciplinary hearing into Mr Hart’s behaviour was held from November 11 and 14, where a panel noted the officer had "a genuine historical interest in this period of history" but added: “What had been taken and done was insensitive and inappropriate in the extreme.”

Removing items from the camp is illegal under Polish law, though it is unclear who removed the items that were sold. 

In a notice of the decision, the force said "the proceedings against the officer were not brought on the basis that the any of the items listed for sale were stolen; no criminality was alleged and none was found".

The panel found the items that were for sale on Ebay amounted to gross misconduct. An allegation of selling weapons - knives - was found not proven.

“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," the panel said.

“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 selfregulation in future.”

The force had previously indicated it would not take action against Mr Hart when the JC first reported the story last October. At that time, the force said "no wrongdoing has been identified".

But the force noted Mr Hart's eBay activity "contravened his declared business interest".

The disciplinary panel found there was no evidence of any criminality by Mr Hart nor was there any evidence that his activities were driven by any extremist right-wing views, sympathies with or allegiance to Nazi or neo-Nazi ideology.

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