By Busra Akin Dincer
LONDON (AA): A British police watchdog on Thursday said it had found hundreds of allegations of sexual misconduct made against officers over a two-year period.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), a body responsible for scrutinizing police forces in England and Wales, released a report on Thursday which said the allegations were a “major threat to law enforcement”.
In its research, the HMIC said it had found over 430 reported allegations of “abuse of authority for sexual gain received, or received and finalized, by police forces in England and Wales during the 24 months to 31 March 2016”.
The report claimed well over a third (39 percent) of the allegations involved victims of domestic abuse.
“This is a serious form of corruption that betrays the trust of the public — particularly of some of the most vulnerable people in society, such as victims of domestic abuse,” said Michael Cunningham QPM, HM Inspector of Constabulary, who was quoted in the report.
As part of its investigation the watchdog also conducted a survey with over 400 people working with domestic abuse victims.
Sixty-eight of these (16 percent) said within the last two years, a victim of domestic abuse had told them a police officer or a member of police staff had “abused their authority to exploit them or develop an inappropriate relationship with them”.
HMIC said a “clear” and “coherent” strategy was needed to stop officers exploiting their powers to avoid the “devastating effect it has on those who are victims of it but also the deeply corrosive effect that each case has on the trust that the public have in the police”.
[Photo: British police vehicle. Creative Commons]