Northern Ireland news

Almost 40 officers investigated internally by PSNI for alleged sexual misconduct over past five years

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said any "allegation, disclosure or conviction of sexual harassment or abuse perpetrated by an officer or member of staff is robustly investigated". Picture by Hugh Russell

Almost 40 officers have been subject to internal investigations by the PSNI for alleged sexual misconduct over the past five years.

According to figures released by the PSNI, which were reported by The Belfast Telegraph, 39 officers have been investigated.

In 2016/2017, four officers were investigated while five were investigated in 2017/2018.

There were seven officers investigated in 2018/2019, 13 in 2019/2020 and 10 in 2020/2021.

Five of the complaints were upheld, with three officers dismissed, two of whom were jailed.

The PSNI said the figure "does not account for matters which are still ongoing".

Furthermore, it said these "may yet result in an allegation being upheld, and a formal sanction being administered".

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton confirmed that two officers against whom complaints were upheld, continue to serve in the police.

Mr Hamilton said of the three officers dismissed, all were found to have committed misconduct in public office for sexual gain, while one was also convicted of possessing indecent images.

"We have an officer in prison for two years who was sentenced this summer we have also an officer who was sentenced to prison for possession of indecent images," he told the BBC.

"We have six cases of a sexual nature and we've about seven domestic violence cases ongoing at the minute as well and some of the cases overlap between domestic abuse and sexual offences."

Mr Hamilton added: "Any allegation, disclosure or conviction of sexual harassment or abuse perpetrated by an officer or member of staff is robustly investigated".

Mark Lindsay, Chairman of the Police Federation, said: "Officers are expected to uphold the law and not use their position to either harass or subject vulnerable people to any sexual wrongdoing.

"Actions where criminal or misconduct matters occur are the actions of a few and do not represent the dedicated service our colleagues provide on a daily basis".

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