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Abuse of position is serious corruption.

Examples are: committing a sexual act, initiating sexual contact with, or responding to an perceived sexually-motivated behaviour from another person; entering into any communication that could be perceived as sexually motivated or lewd; or for any other sexual purpose.

The majority of police officers and police staff (including volunteers or staff contracted into police roles) are hardworking, professional and deliver an excellent service. However, sadly corruption of this kind does occur in all forces and we all have a responsibility to prevent it and to protect all sections of the community, most notably the vulnerable.

People who are particularly vulnerable to such abuse include those suffering mental ill health, those with learning difficulties, juveniles, those who are drug or alcohol dependant, victims of abuse and victims of an alarming or traumatic experience. We will deal with victims sensitively and listen to them.

Warning signs include:

  • Contact or visits off duty
  • Nicknames/petnames
  • Flirtatious behaviour
  • Exchanging of gifts/letters
  • Physical contact
  • Sexualised comments (kisses/emojis on text messages)
  • Unneccessary communication
  • Continued contact after an incident or case is concluded
  • A victim may not see there is anything wrong with the relationship and how it started

The abuse of position for a sexual purpose is defined as: Any behaviour by a police officer or police staff member, whether on or off duty, that takes advantage of their position as a member of the police service to misuse their position, authority or powers in order to pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with any member of the public.

If you have any concerns please contact us by emailing our Professional Standards Department.

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