Sexual Misconduct (4957_14)

Request

Under the Freedom of Information Act please can you provide me with details of complaints and investigations into all forms of sexual misconduct by all employees made by members of the public from 2010-present, broken down year by year.

For each incident please also specify the nature of the offence or possible misconduct e.g. sexual assault, inappropriate touching, rape, inappropriate emails and text messages

Could we please get the following information:

– Complaints made by victims of crimes for sexual misconduct while a member of police staff is on or off duty (please specify)

– Complaints made by witnesses of crimes for sexual misconduct while a member of police staff is on or off duty (please specify)

-Complaints made by those in custody for sexual misconduct while a member of police staff is on or off duty

-Complaints made by other members of the public for sexual misconduct while a member of police staff is on duty

If possible the gender of the accused employee and their position e.g. a male police constable, a female IT worker.

Please provide the gender of the victim/witness/member of the public

Response

Please find attached our response (4999_Attachment_01).

In addition to the attached response, West Midlands Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relative to your request by virtue of:

Section 30(3) Investigations and Proceedings Conducted by Public Authorities.

These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/docs/advice-centre/foi/exemptions.pdf

In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please see below.

Section 30(3) Investigations

Harm 

In this case to confirm or deny the existence of any other information would provide confirmation of the existence, or otherwise, of an investigation. As a consequence any ongoing or subsequent investigations could be jeopardised where release indicates police activity.

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held.

Confirming or denying that information exists relevant to this request would lead to a better informed public improving their knowledge and understanding of the investigatory process and, as all police investigations are publicly funded, confirmation that information is held would provide transparency with regard to the allocation of force budgets.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) 

Confirmation that information is held would prejudice how investigations are carried out in the future by revealing details of covert activity.  This would hinder the prevention and detection of crime and affect WMP law enforcement capabilities.  Confirmation would also undermine the partnership approach to investigations.

Balancing Test

Disclosing information about investigations would provide a greater transparency in the investigating process and the actions of West Midlands Police. There is a clear public interest in ensuring that public authorities do not act outside their authority by investigating matters which fall outside their remit.

There is an inherently strong public interest in public authorities carrying out investigations to prevent and detect crime. This ensures that offenders are brought to justice and that the necessary checks and balances are in place to safeguard public funds and resources. To allow the effectiveness of investigations to be reduced, as described in the harm above, is not in the public interest. West Midlands Police need to be allowed to carry out investigations effectively away from public scrutiny until such times as the details need to be made public, otherwise it will be difficult for accurate, thorough and objective investigations to be carried out.
The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve. Therefore, at this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that information exists.

Attachments

4957_Attachment_01

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