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10 October, 2017

Julia Mulligan responds to HMICFRS report on police forces plans to tackle the abuse of position for a sexual purpose

The majority of police forces in England and Wales still have work do in regards to their planning around preventing the abuse of position for a sexual purpose, according to a report published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “I was disappointed to see North Yorkshire Police grouped in with other forces as not having made enough progress against this HMIC recommendation. The very least the public expect are for police officers and staff to be law-abiding members of society, and it is up to the police’s internal processes to ensure this is the case.

“Given North Yorkshire Police has had to deal with an officer abusing his position in the recent past, I would have expected more.  Whilst the comments from HMIC seem to be in part a reflection of North Yorkshire Police failing to provide their full plans, which are quite robust, I will nevertheless be ensuring this issue remains high on the Chief Constable’s agenda.”

Speaking out as the APCC Transparency and Integrity Portfolio Lead, Julia added: “We welcome this report, which clearly sets out that whilst impressive work has been undertaken to tackle the abuse of position for a sexual purpose within the police service, there is clearly more to do and PCCs will want to redouble their efforts to hold forces to account to ensure this unacceptable behaviour is rooted out.

“It is vital that the right processes are in place to protect the public, especially vulnerable people, such as victims, to prevent police officers from abusing their positions in this way and proactively identify where there is corruption of this type.

“Whilst instances of this type of abuse are thankfully rare, when they do occur they totally undermine the public’s trust in the service. The public need to be confident that the police officers in our communities are acting with the utmost integrity and PCCs will continue to work alongside their Chief Constables to ensure that this work is advanced.”

This report is based on a desk-based review of plans submitted by forces. A full inspection of this and other elements of police legitimacy will be carried out in 2018.

In December, HMICFRS revealed forces across England and Wales had received 436 allegations of abuse of power for sexual gain against 306 police officers, 20 police community support officers and eight staff in the two years to March 2016.

HMI Mike Cunningham, who led this inspection, said:

“The importance of public trust in the police cannot be understated, and forces need to do everything they can to ensure this trust isn’t eroded. HMICFRS will be inspecting how forces have implemented these plans in 2018, so forces now have another opportunity to show they have understood the importance of this issue, and make progress. Between our feedback, the NPCC national strategy, changes to the IPCC referral criteria and College of Policing guidance we believe forces have all the information they need to get this right, so we expect to see an improved picture when we inspect next year.”

Abuse of position for a sexual purpose


In our 2016 legitimacy inspections, a national cause of concern was identified in forces’ ability to seek intelligence on potential abuse of position for sexual gain.

HMICFRS recommended that all forces should have started to implement a plan to achieve the capability and capacity required to seek intelligence on potential abuse of position for sexual gain.

In 2017, we reviewed all plans and associated documentation provided by forces in response to this recommendation. Each force was sent a letter setting out our assessment of its individual plans.

This national report sets out an overview of our findings, including national work to address the recommendation.

Get the national overview

Get the press release

Get the report for North Yorkshire Police