Since 2012, almost 1,500 claims of sexual abuse, child abuse, sexual harassment and exploitation of crime victims were made against the U.K. police force in both England and Wales, the Observer reported Saturday.
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Using the Freedom of Information Act, the British news outlet, the Observer found that 1,491 accusations of abuse were lodged against 33 police departments’ special constables, police officers, and police community support officers (PCSOs) from 2012 to 2018.
Of the over 1,000 claims, only 371 were investigated and led to the resignation, retirement, or dismissal of 197 police personnel, the Observer said. Although, ten police units refused to provide additional data.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct’s regional director, Derrick Campbell, said, “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.”
This is the second time in six months that the U.K. police have fallen under the public eye for inappropriate behavior. Nearly 450 complaints of sexual harassment against half of Britain's male police force have been filed since 2012, a Guardian investigation revealed in late December.
A survey of some 1,800 police personnel found a culture of sexually inappropriate conversations, topics, and jokes normalized in departments across England, Wales, and Scotland, said Unison’s national officer Ben Priestley.