Record numbers of Police Scotland officers facing sexual misconduct claims

A senior officer has called on Police Scotland to ‘change culture’ after it emerged record numbers of serving officers are now facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

While there were 12 sex complaints at this time last year, police watchdogs have been told the total being investigated now has soared to 51.

At the same time, the number of serving officers suspended from duty has jumped 65 per cent and in the case of civilian members of staff, almost 170 per cent.

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Previously, Police Scotland has attributed climbing numbers of sex complaints to increased awareness of the issue due to high-profile cases like the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Metropolitan Police Officer, Wayne Couzens.

Allegations against officers have hit a record high

Now, Police Scotland have confirmed that outside help is required if the force is to ‘change culture’ among its 23,000 complement of officers and support staff.

Police chiefs have drafted in external auditors to investigate - among other things – record numbers of sexual misconduct allegations involving their employees.

The sex complaints were disclosed in a report to the Scottish Police Authority’s Complaints and Conduct Committee, which met earlier this month.

Chief Superintendent Catriona Henderson told the committee that an increase in such complaints had been expected, following ‘some awareness raising’ with staff now more confident that those reports will be taken seriously.

She added: “So, following that, once we start to embed and once we change culture, which is the ethos behind the ‘Values’ campaign and the Standards of Professional Behaviour preventions campaign, we would like to think we do start to see a tail-off in terms of volume and we would be monitoring that accordingly.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Policing Together is a drive to improve how policing in Scotland reflects, represents and serves our communities. The recently launched Values campaign is part of Policing Together.

“The Values campaign aims to improve understanding among officers and staff of the organisation’s values and ethics. This includes a month-by-month focus on the 10 legislative Standards of Professional Behaviour, a new equality, diversity and inclusion training package for all officers and staff, and a refreshed commitment to build and maintain professional standards and boundaries.”