A senior officer at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is among those currently being investigated for sexual misconduct, the police watchdog has confirmed as fresh allegations emerge. The unnamed officer was suspended from the force following the allegations and referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in October last year.
The national body confirmed that the conduct referral was in relation to allegations of sexual harassment. The IOPC has now said that a separate allegation of sexual harassment by the same officer has been received.
It comes after GMP revealed that it is now investigating 82 officers for sexual offences or misconduct with investigations for a further 16 concluded and those officers currently awaiting a misconduct panel hearing. The figures – representing around one per cent of the force – were shared at a public meeting.
What has the IOPC said about officers accused of sexual misconduct?
An IOPC spokesperson said: “We received a conduct referral from Greater Manchester Police in relation to allegations of sexual harassment by a senior officer. After carefully assessing the available information, we started an independent investigation on 18 October 2022.
“During the course of this investigation, we received a further conduct referral relating to a separate allegation of sexual harassment by the same officer. Investigators continue to gather evidence and pursue lines of enquiry.”
The news follows former PC David Carrick admitting to 49 offences including 24 counts of rape before he was sacked from the Metropolitan Police.
What has been said in Greater Manchester about this?
Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor Kate Green told the police, fire and crime panel that, following Carrick’s conviction, she wants to assure the public that officers found to have abused their position will be ‘rooted out’ from GMP.
Councillors on the panel were told that all police forces are now required to check every officer against the national database, revisit any allegations that may need further investigation and also revisit all vetting decisions.
Chief constable Stephen Watson said the recent uplift in police officers has already resulted in some ‘resourcing issues’ within the vetting unit at GMP and he suspects that the new requirements will put further pressure on staffing.
However, he said that the force will fully comply with all that is required and find the additional resources for vetting if necessary. Dismissals for sexual offences or misconduct have more than doubled in the last twelve months.
In 2020, one police officer at GMP was dismissed, but in 2021 there were five. Last year, 12 GMP officers were dismissed for sexual offences or misconduct.
In a statement on the number of ongoing investigations, GMP’s deputy chief constable Terry Woods said: “We treat all allegations of sexual misconduct by officers extremely seriously. Where people believe officers have acted wrongly, I encourage them to make a complaint and assure them that all complaints are ethically recorded, fully assessed, and investigated objectively.”
Complaints can be reported to GMP’s Professional Standards Branch by visiting the police force’s website. Members of the public can also report anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers or by calling 0800 555 111. Police employees can report anonymously via the Police Integrity Line or by calling 0800 111 4444.