86 police officers have been investigated in relation to criminal allegations of sexual offences between April 2016 and March 2019, according to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request made by the Daily Record newspaper.
Thirty-six of these officers are currently under investigation while 16 of the remaining 50 officers have been charged with a sexual offence.
Eleven officers had complaints made by colleagues and 74 faced allegations from members of the public. The FoI request reported one officer had an allegation made by both a colleague and public.
Fifteen of the accused officers were from Greater Glasgow, 10 officers faced allegations over sexual misconduct in the Highlands and Islands, while eight officers faced inquiries in Fife.
A spokeswoman for the force commented:
“The vast majority of our officer and staff conduct themselves to the high standards we and the public expect, however when we do receive reports of criminality involving our employees they will be rigorously investigated in the same way any other report would be.”
With reports of sexual crimes on the rise (923 more reports in the year to end March 2019 compared to 2017/18 figures), there has been a public outcry over the way that sentencing of sexual offences is handled in the Scottish courts.
The Scottish Sentencing Council (SSC) have recently announced plans to develop multiple sentencing guidelines for how the courts deal with specific sexual offences, such as rape, sexual assault and indecent images of children.
Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge, believes this will allow ‘each topic to be given in-depth consideration’. Lady Dorrian explained the SSC’s intention to de-prioritise the development of environment and wildlife offence guidelines to put more resources into the sexual offences process:
“We recognise the considerable interest in sentencing sexual offences, and we have listened carefully to views expressed by the public, judiciary, victim support organisations, the Scottish Parliament and other in considering how best to proceed.
“We consider that guidelines on sexual offences should take precedence over certain other areas of work at present.”
The SSC currently has a consultation open to the public until the 6th September 2019, seeking views on an eight-step framework which applies to all sentencing decisions. This consultation will then be used as the foundation for future guidelines dealing with specific sexual crimes.
The consultation, which opened on the 12th June 2019, can be accessed here.
If you have been accused of a sexual offence, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defence solicitor who can provide you with expert legal advice and a robust legal defence. Contact Keith J Tuck Solicitors today by completing the online enquiry form.