'Nearly 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, exploitation of crime victims and child abuse, have been made against police officers in England and Wales over six years, the Observer can reveal.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that 1,491 complaints were filed against police officers, special constables and police community support officers (PCSOs) across 33 forces in England and Wales between 2012 and 2017, or 2018 in the case of the Metropolitan Police in London, which took a year to respond to the FOI request by the Observer.
Of these cases, 371 were upheld, resulting in the sacking or resignation of 197 officers, special constables and PCSOs. Ten police forces did not provide data.
Derrick Campbell, regional director of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, told the Observer in a statement: “Police personnel who abuse their position for sexual purpose have no place in policing, and we are aware from our own research that this is one of the top areas of police conduct that concerns the general public.
“We are working hard to ensure police forces refer all allegations of abuse of position for sexual purpose to us, and we will continue to provide guidance and knowledge to help identify this abuse of trust as early as possible.”
The “upheld” cases are those where the investigating force has decided based on the evidence that there is a case to answer. It does not automatically mean that the accusation has been proved in its entirety – but only a handful of such cases end without disciplinary action or the accused resigning from the force.
The largest force, the Met, accounts for 594 complaints, of which 119 were upheld, leading to 63 dismissals, retirements and resignations. Greater Manchester Police received 97 complaints, of which 16 were upheld, triggering seven departures from the force. Devon and Cornwall Police upheld 26 of 77 complaints, with 14 defendants leaving the force as a result.'
Read more: Scale of police sexual abuse claims revealed
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30 December 2019
Grooming ‘epidemic’ as almost 19,000 children identified as sexual exploitation victims in England
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