The UK police watchdog warns that many police officers and staff sexually abuse crime victims.
Many police officers and staff have taken sexual advantage when dealing with sensitive and vulnerable people, the UK police watchdog warns.
According to a study commissioned by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which investigates complaints against the police in England and Wales, 54 police officers sexually exploited or assaulted members of the public they were supposed to be helping between April 2009 and March 2011.
The report called Abuse of Police Powers to Perpetrate Sexual Violence was prompted by the case of former Northumbria police constable Stephen Mitchell, who was jailed for life in January last year for carrying out sex attacks on vulnerable women while being on duty.
Calling for more vetting of UK police staff and the creation of a code of conduct to prevent abuses of trust, the IPCC warned that the “true figure” of the officers’ corrupt behavior could be much “higher” because forces reported the assaults in different ways.
“The abuse of police powers for purposes of sexual exploitation, or even violence, is something that fundamentally betrays the trust that communities and individuals place in the police,” said Anne Owers, chairwoman of the IPCC.
According to an investigation conducted by the Guardian and published earlier on June 29, in the past four years, there were 56 cases involving police officers and community support officers who were found to have abused their position or were investigated for committing rape crime, sexually assaulting or harassing women.
Furthermore, in a speech to women’s groups and criminal justice workers in London in July, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said that only ten percent of all victims of rape and other serious sexual assaults in the UK go to the police, mainly because they do not believe the criminal justice system will help them.