Northamptonshire Police responds to positive national report
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The head of Northamptonshire Police Professional Standards has today welcomed the findings of a national report which calls on forces to do more to prevent officers and staff abusing their position for a sexual purpose.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said forces needed to act more effectively to root out perpetrators within the police service.
Acknowledging such behaviour was 'extremely rare', HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham, said: “Nonetheless, even one instance of abuse of position for a sexual purpose is one too many. It is an appalling betrayal of often vulnerable people, and can be devastating to those who fall prey to it. Although the numbers of people involved are small, forces must do all they can to prevent, detect and deal with this serious form of corruption.”
She said forces should reflect on the report - Shining a light on betrayal: abuse of position for a sexual purpose – and take action to “maintain the legitimacy of the police and, most importantly, to protect the public from predators who have no place in policing”.
Northamptonshire Police was adjudged to be a “good” force when it came to tackling such behaviour, led in part by an “effective” counter-corruption unit, clear leadership on ethics and a concerted effort to raise awareness of such corruptive behaviour across the workforce.
Supt Pauline Sturman, head of Professional Standards, said: “This is a valuable report and demonstrates how far we have come in addressing this issue since 2016 when we were last inspected in this area.
“We have carried out a force-wide awareness campaign on this problem which means our workforce is now even more aware of the behaviour expected of them while supervisors are trained to spot the signs of potential corruption if and when it arises.
“Our counter-corruption team has been strengthened in both numbers and in terms of experience, allowing us better to investigate allegations when they do arise and we will publicise the outcome of the relevant misconduct hearings.
“Further work has also been done on appropriate relationships while we are also developing a strategy around sexual harassment.
“Such cases thankfully remain extremely rare, but in order for the police to maintain the trust and confidence of the public, it’s imperative that we are seen to be investigating any unacceptable conduct of this type and, where appropriate, remove those offenders from the service because they have no part to play in it.
“This report also makes important recommendations about the importance and value of vetting, not least at a time when the police service is in the process of recruiting thousands of new officers in the coming years. Vetting mustn’t be seen as a blocker, but an enabler, a genuine first line of defence for policing.
“There is still work to be done, but I firmly believe the report’s findings today demonstrate Northamptonshire Police has made impressive inroads into tackling an issue which has real potential to damage the confidence the public has in its police officers and staff.”