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Viewpoint: sexual predators, the IOPC and the police

The IOPC figures on abuse of position for sexual purposes give a misleading picture of the scale of the problem says retired Met officer Alan Wright.

Viewpoint: sexual predators, the IOPC and the police

Date - 26th October 2021
By - Alan Wright
2 Comments 2 Comments}

I want to be clear on one thing. There is no place in the Police Service for sexual predators. None. I don’t think I can be much clearer.

My good friends at the Independent Office for Police Conduct have published a report about sexual predators who are either Police Officers or members of Police Staff. I don’t have access to their core data but I am happy to accept their published figures unchallenged.

Between 2016 and 2020, there were 643 referrals for abuse of position. Between 2018 and 2020 there was a total of 206 investigations by IOPC for Abuse of Position for a Sexual Purpose (APSP). A total of 643 referrals led to 66 officers and staff facing disciplinary hearings, 10% of the Referrals.

I’m not quite sure why the IOPC have mixed up two different datasets there.

Don’t get me wrong, that is way too many. One is too many, but let’s take a closer look - 66 people ‘disciplined’. Misconduct was proven against 63 of them. 52 of those made it onto a Gross Misconduct Hearing, and 38 are no longer serving and on the ‘Barred List’. I believe that six were convicted of criminal offences and three of those imprisoned.

Of the original 66, 42 of those allegations were made in the last year alone - 42 being the highest annual total. That is the figure I shall work with.

The total police workforce in March 2021 was 220,519. Of those, 42 were subject of APSP allegations/investigations. 42 out of 220,519 = 0.019%. Broadly speaking one fiftieth of 1% of the total Police Workforce.

That is not acceptable. But I do wonder what the percentage would be if the same data was recorded for politicians, teachers or college/university lecturers, journalists, Armed Forces personnel. Would we see the outpouring of stereotyping, hatred, wild assumptions that we currently see aimed at Police Officers, the vast majority of whom are not guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever.?

If just one MP within parliament, just the one, was a Sexual Predator, that would be a percentage nearly 10 times higher than those officers and Civil Staff referred to in the IOPC report. Think on that for a moment.

Context and reality is what’s needed. There is no place in the Police Service (or Parliament) for a Sexual Predator, but, being realistic, you are almost never going to encounter one with that percentage. No reason whatsoever not to trust any officer who may cross your path, you’re 10 times more likely to fall victim to an MP, but always be sensible and make sure the officer, or member of Police Staff, maintains a professional approach, and if you have any concerns by all means report them, just don’t let others convince you that the Service is comprised mainly of Misogynists and Perverts It isn’t.

I must thank the IOPC for putting some numbers to a problem that has been worrying us all, and reassuring us all that the scale of the problem is nowhere near as bad as some would have us believe.

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Springbok223 - Sun, 31 October 2021

The IOPC figures misleading, nothing new there then. The bag a copper brigade are probably upset that they couldn't get their grubby hands on Couzens, but hey ho, lets make a big deal of it and berate the police in general. Couzens was a 'one off piece of excrement' who should be on the end of a rope.