14 Devon and Cornwall police officers and staff investigated over sexual offences (From Falmouth Packet)
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14 Devon and Cornwall police officers and staff investigated over sexual offences
9:51am Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
A Freedom of Information request has revealed that fourteen police officers and staff in Devon and Cornwall are being investigated for sexual offences.
The force's chief constable, Shaun Sawyer, has said that people had the right to expect "values and behaviour befitting those in public office" and that the "selfish few" officers or staff failing to meet that high standard would be dealt with "robustly".
He said: "I expect the utmost integrity, honesty and professionalism from all of my staff at all times."
"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."
Any allegations against officers and staff of a serious nature are assessed by professional standards and referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) if necessary.
Redruth Police Community Support Officer Peter Bunyan was sentenced to seven years in jail after abusing his position to prey on vulnerable women.
Bunyan, 40, of Carharrack, near Camborne, called a "disgrace to the police service", had turned his radio down when having sex with women.
He was also accused of using the computerised criminal intelligence system like a "dating agency", looking up sensitive information on women
The officer was charged with 12 counts of misconduct in public office for engaging in sexual relationships with five women; sending sexualised text messages to one woman; accessing the police records of six women and two men; accessing computer records and passing it onto two other individuals; and obtaining a loan of money.
Bunyan was found guilty of eight counts of misconduct in public office.
Figures from 38 of the 43 forces in England and Wales, obtained by The Guardian, show that 169 police officers and support staff are under criminal or disciplinary investigation for sexual offences.
The majority of the allegations have been made against officers or police community support officers (PCSOs), with offences cited including rape, voyeurism, sexual assaults, accessing indecent images and indecent acts with a child.
The Guardian reports that evidence suggests that victims chosen by police officers were often vulnerable, including many women reporting domestic violence, rape or sexual assault, and those with drug or alcohol addictions.