Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today secured assurances from the Justice Secretary that Police Scotland are working to identify the extent of any abuse by officers and staff in Scotland, following accusations of sexual exploitation elsewhere in the UK.
Following a request from the Home Office to investigate, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has now revealed that more than 300 police officers in England & Wales have been accused of sexually exploiting people, including victims of crime. HMIC described it as the “most serious” form of corruption facing the police there, with the data showing all but one constabulary had received at least one allegation.
In response to a question from Mr McArthur at the meeting of the Justice Sub-Committee today, the Justice Secretary said Police Scotland are gathering comparable data for north of the border.
Mr McArthur said:
“The truly appalling findings from HMIC in England and Wales will give rise to widespread public concern. It is right that they have compelled the launch of an investigation in Scotland to establish whether the extent of any such accusations or criminality here.
“It was welcome that the Justice Secretary agreed to my request to keep Parliament informed of the outcome of the investigation.
“It is totally unacceptable that anyone in a position of power should abuse their position. It is particularly despicable if it involves preying on people when they are at their most vulnerable and the vast majority of officers would be absolutely appalled. For HMIC to describe sexual exploitation as the most serious form of police corruption in England and Wales is breath-taking. That is why a rigorous investigation must now take place in Scotland.”