Sorry plight of British Police! A report accuses over 300 police officers of misusing their position to sexually exploit people, including victims of crime
The Police Watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said abuse of authority for sexual gain was now the “most serious” form of corruption facing police in England and Wales.The watchdog’s figures were gathered over two years to the end of March, BBC reported.
The watchdog was asked to investigate the extent of the problem earlier this year, by the then Home Secretary Theresa May. It found that 306 officers, 20 PCSOs and eight police staff were involved in 436 reported allegations.
The data also showed all but one constabulary had received at least one allegation, and that almost 40% of accusations involved victims of domestic abuse.
Other people who were allegedly exploited were thought to include arrested suspects and people with drug or alcohol problems.
Other findings outlined in the report:
Fewer than half (48%) of the 436 reported allegations had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission
There was an “apparent disconnect” between the numbers of alleged cases and any subsequent staff dismissals
Officers did not have a “sufficiently clear understanding” of boundaries around establishing or pursuing relationships with vulnerable people
Some counter-corruption units did not have the ability or capacity to seek information about potential cases
Almost half of forces inspected were unable to audit or monitor the use of all IT systems, which limited the ability to spot any staff accessing databases to identify vulnerable victims
HM Inspector Mike Cunningham, who led the review, said the problem of sexual exploitation could be “more serious” than the reported numbers and forces needed to become “far more proactive in rooting out” such corruption.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council described the problem as a “disease”.
It acknowledged that more needed to be done to “root it out and inoculate policing for the future”.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson, the NPCC’s lead for counter-corruption, said: “It is the most serious form of corruption and it can never be justified or condoned.”
HMIC said its police “legitimacy” assessment was positive overall, with high satisfaction among victims at how they are treated.
Mr Cunningham told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Make no mistake about it, the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women is corruption. It is using authority for personal gain, which is a definition of corruption.
“It is the most serious corruption problem in the sense that it is the ultimate betrayal of trust, where the guardian becomes the abuser. That is what we are seeing in these cases, and we’re seeing too many.
“The allegations that we collected across the country are not closed allegations, they’re not confirmed or finalised allegations but nevertheless they are allegations.”