A disorganised and attention-seeking detective who faked forensic test results in sex crime investigations to reduce his workload has been jailed for two years.
Former Detective Constable Carl Ryan, 35, made up test results for investigations into alleged rapes and sexual assaults to cut down his "donkey work" because he "wanted to be in the limelight" of investigating more serious crimes.
Working in the Metropolitan Police's Sapphire sex crimes unit, he failed to send evidence including swabs and a condom for forensic and toxicological tests before recording "negative" results in the crime reporting information system (Cris).
When his offences came to light the vital unit had to be shut down for months and several of his cases needed reinvestigating.
He was later fired by the Met, who labelled his actions "manipulative, calculated and indefensible".
Ryan, of Cemmaes Court Road, Hemel Hempstead, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of five counts of misconduct in public office between January 1 2010 and July 1 2012.
He was cleared of a further charge of misconduct in public office over the same period.
Passing sentence Judge Alistair McCreath said the detective had become overcome by his workload because he was "not very organised".
"It seems to me a much larger part of it was you wanted to be in the limelight, to be the one who did the most interesting and spectacular early investigations, but in doing that you did not apply yourself to the less interesting donkey work."
The judge said that while Ryan had not committed the crimes for personal gain or with corrupt intentions, there was a "clear risk of injustice" and a chance that a perpetrator may have walked free.
He said: "Police officers have a unique position in our society because they are given wide powers and very important powers, but with those powers goes also heavy responsibility."
Ryan, who appeared in the dock wearing a dark suit, showed no emotion as he was jailed.
The detective joined the Sapphire unit in 2010 and worked on 62 cases, however he was investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission when allegations of misconduct arose.
Ryan was found guilty of failing to send off a swab in a rape investigation for forensic tests when ordered to by a sergeant, then recording a negative test on the Cris system.
He then shirked from sending a urine sample for toxicological tests before recording it as "negative" on the Cris file and similarly logged a negative result when he failed to send a condom off for analysis.
When all three were re-investigated they were discontinued on the evidence, although it was not said that Ryan's actions had led to a miscarriage of justice.
The detective also forged witness statements that had not been made and in another case told a man and his lawyer he had been charged when the Crown Prosecution Service had not made their decision.
Prosecutor Eloise Marshall said: "It required for the unit to be closed down for three months, reinvestigation of his cases needed reinvestigating, as well as investigating what the defendant did while maintaining their present case load."
Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Haydon, commander for specialist crime investigations, said the Jimmy Savile revelations had pushed the burden on sex crime to "unprecedented levels".
He reassured victims of rape and sexual assault that their complaints would be handled properly by the unit.
"Ryan's activities were manipulative, calculated and indefensible. He deceived his colleagues and members of the public who had been subjected to the most serious offences and for whom he had a duty of care.
"As a consequence of management reviews, Ryan's conduct was uncovered and he was subsequently arrested by the Department of Professional Standards. The matter was referred to the IPCC and he was later dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Service following a fast-track misconduct hearing."