Abuse of Position for Sexual Purpose (859A/23)
I am writing to request information (under the Freedom of Information Act 2000) regarding the abuse of position for sexual purpose by police staff and reports of sexual corruption made outside of the police service.
Regarding the first half of my request, I am aware that there are annual statistics about police complaints published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which have included the abuse of position for sexual purpose since 2020, but I am requesting disaggregated data and data prior to 2020.
- Please provide the annual number of complaints regarding the abuse of position for sexual purpose received by your police service since 01/02/2020.
- For each of these complaints, I would like to know the gender, where provided by the complainant for anything recorded after 2020.
- For each complaint I would like to know whether it led to disciplinary action, and if so, what the outcome was (eg. officer dismissed).
It is important to note the force operates under the Police Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Behaviour. This includes challenging any inappropriate behaviour or action which would discredit the police service or undermine public confidence in policing.
Our Professional Standards department, take a robust stance and are committed to rooting out abuse of power, criminality and corruption whenever we find evidence of it. This is done by carrying out thorough investigations, offering support and dealing appropriately with anyone found to be acting in an inappropriate manner.
We want our officers to uphold the highest of standards so the public has the utmost confidence in them.
Sexual harassment and abuse are simply unacceptable but when it is done by a police officer – who holds a position of power and someone the public should trust – it must be rooted out and eliminated.
We must do everything we can to maintain public confidence and trust in policing.
This will provide reassurance to the public that we mean it when we say we’ll do all we can to preserve and rebuild trust.
We can confirm that relevant information for question 1 is held by West Midlands Police. However, while the majority of the information is attached to this email, I am not required to release all of the information requested. Please see attached.
REASONS FOR DECISION
The withheld information is exempt by virtue of the following exemptions:
Section 30(3) – Investigations and proceedings conducted by the public authority
Section 31(3) – Law enforcement
Section 40(5) – Personal information
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached (859A_PIT_01).
Section 40(2) is an absolute and class-based exemption if to release the information exists would breach the third party’s data protection rights. In this case to release this personal information would not constitute fair processing of the data. As this exemption is class based I am not required to identify the harm in disclosure and in this instance I believe that the right to privacy outweighs any public interest in release.