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63 allegations of sexual misconduct against Nottinghamshire police officers and staff last year, figures show

Nottinghamshire Police received 63 allegations of sexual misconduct against officers and police staff in 2022, new figures released by the force show.

The claims were made against 22 serving or former officers or staff members and are the highest number in the last six years.

A report on the figures made public by the force also reveals 40 of the 63 allegations remained under investigation as of December 31, 2022.

The force says the number of allegations made has “increased significantly”, adding it decided to publish the figures to improve transparency following questions about police conduct and standards nationally.

Detective Superintendent Hayley Williams, head of professional standards directorate at the force, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We know this type of information is a matter of public interest and therefore it is important it appears on our website.

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“Our rise in numbers reflects our determination to root out any incidents of sexual misconduct because it will not be tolerated in the force.”

The force’s report, released on its website last week, shows a total of 94 allegations have been made against 49 police officers or staff since 2017.

Sixty-three were made in 2022, with the remaining 31 made between 2017 and 2021.

The allegations include rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and other sexual conduct

At the time of publication, the force said further details on the progress and outcomes of the 40 outstanding allegations will be published in the summer.

 

Nottinghamshire Police’s report says the publication is intended as a way of being “open and transparent” and to boost “confidence in reporting these matters”.

It also shows seven of the 63 allegations made in 2022 were later withdrawn, while nine were determined as ‘service acceptable’ for the employee in question.

A further six investigations concluded there was ‘no case to answer’ and one allegation was found to have a case.

This resulted in a former employee facing a misconduct hearing, and this member of staff “would have been dismissed” if they were still serving, the statistics reveal.

The figures also show between 2017 and 2022, 11 officers were disciplined for sexual misconduct allegations, with seven classed as on-duty, serving police officers.

Two disciplined staff were former officers with a further two as former members of staff, which could include office workers, call handlers or other non-frontline force employees.

Of these, three serving officers have been dismissed, two former officers would have been dismissed and two former staff also would have been dismissed.

The number of allegations last year was more than double the total lodged to the force across the whole of the preceding five years, the figures add.

The force says the number of employees facing sexual misconduct allegations is “small” compared with the wider 3,800 staff base it employs.

The report adds that the increase in allegations shows that confidence in the force is growing.

Det Supt Williams added: “We are seeing an increase in Freedom of Information requests for this information and therefore we want to ensure everyone has access to this data.

“Every allegation will be investigated fully and if it is found that an officer or member of police staff has acted below the high standards we expect of them, disciplinary procedures will take place – which can include dismissal.”

Notts Police and Crime Commissioner Mrs Henry added the force has also introduced an internal ‘Call It Out’ campaign.

She says this “demands all officers and staff report unprofessional behaviour” of their colleagues, including misogyny, sexual misconduct, racism and homophobia.

The campaign ensures anyone who reports these actions “will be supported and action will be taken,” Mrs Henry added, saying this sends a “clear message” about standards at the force.

In a statement, she said: “Police officers must always be held to the highest possible standards of conduct for any police force to maintain the fundamental principle of policing by consent.

“The publication of these sexual misconduct figures by Nottinghamshire Police is a clear sign of a commitment to transparency and a determination to ensure there is no place for sexual misconduct within the force.

“[It shows] the public all allegations are investigated and dealt with appropriately based on the evidence.”

Mrs Henry also said the force has a “proactive and thorough” professional standards department which acts “swift and strong” towards sexual misconduct.

“My office will continue to use the full extent of our powers to scrutinise the force on how robustly it tackles discriminatory, inappropriate, unprofessional and/ or criminal behaviour among its officers and staff,” she added.

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