Devon and Cornwall Police sex crime allegations inquiry

Male and female police officer The chief constable said people expected officers to have high values

Fourteen alleged sexual offences by police officers and staff in Devon and Cornwall are being investigated.

The Devon and Cornwall force said the number included both criminal and disciplinary investigations by its professional standards department.

The details were released by the force under the Freedom of Information Act.

The chief constable said people had the right to expect their police force to show "values and behaviour befitting those in public office".

Anyone falling below that standard would be dealt with "robustly", Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said.

'Selfish few'

"I expect the utmost integrity, honesty and professionalism from all of my staff at all times."

He said the "action of a selfish few" impacted adversely on the hard work and reputation of the force.

Any allegations against officers and staff of a serious nature - such as inappropriate sexual behaviour - were assessed by professional standards and, if necessary, referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the chief constable said.

"Where appropriate, individuals are dismissed and in some cases where there are criminal allegations which are proven at court, imprisoned," he said.

"Equally, where someone is exonerated then it is important that they feel supported throughout the process and supported in continuing with their duties."

Trust 'undermined'

The force said the outcome of all 14 investigations had "yet to be determined".

When Redruth Police Community Support Officer Peter Bunyan was jailed for misconduct in a public office earlier this year, the IPCC publicly expressed concern at the number of cases across England and Wales where police officers had targeted vulnerable women for sex.

It urged all forces to do "everything in their power to stop such abuse of power".

IPCC chair Dame Anne Owers said anyone who abused their position had "no place in the police service" and when more resources became available, the IPCC would aim to investigate more cases independently of the police service.

"While these cases are rare, each of them is a fundamental abuse of power, and therefore seriously undermines public trust," she added.‬‬

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