Independent Police Complaints Commission
IPCC guidance to police forces when referring allegations of the abuse of position for sexual purpose or to pursue an improper relationship
Following today’s report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) can confirm that all police forces in England and Wales, at the IPCC’s request, should now be referring allegations of abuse of position for sexual purpose in accordance with updated guidance.
The guidance now contains mandatory referral criteria which specifically reference abuse of position for sexual purpose, and abuse of position for the purpose of pursuing an improper relationship under the general heading of serious corruption. The update seeks to clarify, and expand upon, existing guidance to ensure such cases are brought to the attention of the IPCC.
The update follows a report, in December 2016, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC now HMICFRS). The report raised concerns that police forces do not always recognise these issues as forms of serious corruption. As a result, the IPCC instructed all police forces in England and Wales to retrospectively refer allegations which meet the criteria, and to ensure any new cases which met these criteria were referred to the IPCC. All 42 forces responded to the IPCC within the requested deadline.
The new criteria are available via the IPCC website https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/page/statutory-guidance
Since April 2014, the IPCC has received 320 referrals relating to the abuse of police powers for sexual gains. Of the total referrals received since April 2014, 57 required investigation (31 independent, eight managed and 18 supervised) of which 33 remain ongoing at this time (19 independent, 4 managed and 10 supervised).
There were 103 referrals in 2016/17 and 66 received since April this year.
IPCC Chair Anne Owers, said: “Police personnel who abuse their position and exploit people in vulnerable positions for sexual gratification have no place in policing. In some cases, victims of sexual abuse or violent crime are being approached by an officer, someone they should be able to trust, with the intention of beginning an improper relationship. This is unacceptable.
“For that reason, it is important that all allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation are referred to the IPCC to determine whether they require independent investigation. The 2016 HMIC report showed that this was not happening in a significant number of cases, despite our best efforts. As a result, the regulations were changed to make clear that all such cases must be referred to us.
“We have now produced guidelines to assist forces in reporting these matters. They were produced in consultation with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, who have also produced their own strategy and guidance. Recently, we wrote to all forces to share our updated guidelines and to reinforce the importance of recognising and referring such cases.”
Notes to editors:
Alleged conduct which could constitute an allegation of the statutory offence of ‘corruption or other improper exercise of police powers and privileges’ also falls within the scope of the ‘serious corruption’ mandatory referral criteria, and must be referred to the IPCC. This is created by section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
The updated document, entitled Operational advice note – mandatory referral critieria update, April 2017, can be found via this link https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/page/statutory-guidance
IPCC investigation criteria can be found here: https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/page/referral
The HMICFRS report can be found here: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/news/news-feed/insufficient-progress-on-police-force-plans-to-tackle-the-abuse-of-position-for-a-sexual-purpose/(link is external)
Walters – West Mids - http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/west-midlands-pc-jailed-over-sexual-assaults
Davies – South Wales - http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/former-south-wales-police-officer-convicted-two-counts-rape
Gibson – Merseyside - http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/merseyside-police-officer-guilty-misconduct-public-office
Rushton – Staffs - http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/staffordshire-police-officer-has-been-found-guilty-misconduct-public-office-following
McMillan – Merseyside - http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/former-merseyside-police-officer-jailed-misconduct-public-office
Latest News from
Independent Police Complaints Commission
Nottinghamshire Police officer in serious injury collision had followed emergency response driving policy17/10/2017 10:25:00
An IPCC investigation concluded that a police car involved in a serious injury collision in Nottingham had been driven in accordance with local and national policies covering the response to 999 calls.
Use of Taser in Llandudno incident was reasonable and proportionate, IPCC finds13/10/2017 09:10:00
The use of Taser on a man who fell and sustained a head injury at a property in Llandudno was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances, an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation has found.
IPCC concludes pursuit before fatal Derbyshire collision was carried out appropriately12/10/2017 09:10:00
An IPCC investigation into a fatal collision at Hilton, Derbyshire, concluded that a police pursuit which preceded it was carried out appropriately and in accordance with force policies.
IPCC investigation into use of force on photographer at Labour Party rally11/10/2017 14:20:00
The IPCC has begun a criminal investigation into force used by a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer during a Labour Party campaign rally in Colwyn Bay, north Wales, on 7 June.
Recommendations to improve police cross border working for serious offences following IPCC investigation11/10/2017 12:10:00
The IPCC has urged police forces to agree which one should be take primacy in cases crossing their boundaries. One force taking primary responsibility should enable more effective coordination to ensure vulnerable victims are protected and serious offenders are brought to justice.