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Sexual Misconduct 2017-2020

Date of request: March 17, 2021
Reference: 337/21

Request

I would be grateful if you could please provide:

  • The number of reports of sexual offences, allegedly perpetrated by police officers, community support officers, or staff members employed by your force, received by your force for each calendar year for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020

For each report please

  • A brief description of the alleged wrongdoing i.e. nature of the offence
  • The outcomes of any criminal investigation and misconduct investigation
  • Whether the report was referred to IPOC

 

Response

Please find below the number of alleged sexual offences and alleged misconduct, such as inappropriate sexual behaviour reported as a complaint or referred as a conduct allegation, which hasn’t met the criminal threshold for sexual offences, for the years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

 

2017 2018 2019 2020
Complaints Received
Complaints 3 5 3 4
Allegations 5 5 3 5
Internal Investigations
Conducts 10 6 8 1
Allegations 15 8 11 3

 

Please find attached a summary of the complaints and internal investigations which have been listed in the above table.

 

Please find below a breakdown of the outcomes of the complaints and internal investigations listed in the table in the response to question one.

Outcomes
  2017 2018 2019 2020
No Action 10 6 7 6
Proceedings Discontinued 3 0 0 0
Management Action/ Reflective Practice 1 0 3 1
Written/ Final Written Warning 1 0 2 0
Dismissed 2 1 0 1
Would have been dismissed 0 6 2 0
Retired/ Resigned 3 0 0 0

 

Please find below the number of complaints and internal investigations that were referred to the IOPC for the years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

 

IOPC Referrals
2017 2018 2019 2020
6 6 6 2

 

With regards to any ongoing investigations, I am not obliged to provide all the information requested. As such the exemptions applicable to this information is

 

  • Section 30(1)(a)(b)(c) – Investigations and proceedings conducted by a public authority.
  • Section 30(1)(a)(b)(c) is a qualified class based exemption and as such requires a public interest test to be conducted, which is as follows:

 

Public Interest Test

Considerations favouring disclosure:

Disclosure of any further information may go some way to demonstrating that the force is efficient, effective and accountable for the actions that it takes including its’ decision making process.

 

Considerations favouring non-disclosure:

Information relating to any ongoing investigation whether this be an internal or external investigation of members of the public or members of the police force are very rarely disclosed via the Freedom of Information Department. Should disclosure of any ongoing investigations be made at this time it would seriously undermine the right to a fair trial of all those involved. The current and future role of the constabulary effectively being able to conduct investigations and proceedings may be compromised by the release of any further information at this time.

 

Balancing test

After weighing up the competing interests, I have determined that the disclosure of any further information would not be in the public interest. I believe the importance of the factors favouring non-disclosure outweigh those considerations favouring disclosure. At this time the potential harm to current investigations outweighs any public benefit.

 

Furthermore I am not obliged to provide the information as requested as to provide all the information together as you have asked would identify personal information. The exemption applicable to this is;

 

  • Section 40(2), third party personal information.

 

This is an Absolute exemption so therefore there is no requirement to conduct a harm or public interest test. Any information is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act if it relates to or is supplied by another individual and disclosure of that information would contravene any of the data protection principles set out in Article 5(1) of the GDPR and Section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018;

 

A Freedom of Information Disclosure is a disclosure to the world. Therefore information that is provided can be viewed by any member of the public. To provide the information together as you have requested may have severe consequences. For example, an individual may be identified by another member of the public. Alternatively an individual could identify themselves, and be aware that their personal data has been used unlawfully.

 

Should the information be provided in a format in which a living individual could be identified this would constitute personal data. This would then become a breach of rights provided under the Data Protection Act 2018.

 

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