Police running cadet programmes in Manchester are under investigation after being accused of abuse of position for sexual purpose.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has urged police chiefs to check their force’s safeguarding arrangements around Volunteer Police Cadet programmes after revealing that they are managing an investigation into a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) constable following complaints about his conduct in the cadet programme.
The allegations can be broadly characterised as abuse of position for sexual purpose. The officer has been arrested and released on bail and more potential victims have been identified. They are also investigating the conduct of a police sergeant regarding their actions within the force’s cadet programme and how they dealt with the reports of alleged abuse of power for sexual purpose by the PC.
The investigations they say are at an early stage, and involve serious and sensitive allegations.
IOPC Deputy Director General Ian Todd: “We are sufficiently concerned by these two referrals to ask all police forces in England and Wales to urgently review their own Volunteer Police Cadet programmes to ensure they have robust safeguarding procedures in place. Since we raised these concerns, the NPCC lead for safeguarding has confirmed that he has contacted all chief constables to make sure this is prioritised.
“The Volunteer Police Cadet programmes benefit thousands of young people and it’s not our intention to alarm them or their families; I must stress that the two investigations are unconnected and we have no information to indicate this may be a wider problem. However, some of the evidence emerging from these investigations indicates that there may have been opportunities to act sooner on the allegations that we are now investigating.
“The public would rightly expect the highest possible standards of safeguarding to apply in relation to police-operated programmes which engage with young, and sometimes vulnerable, members of the public and so chief constables should satisfy themselves that they have appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place. We also want to reassure the policing profession, not least for public confidence, that we are committed to tackling those who look to abuse their position of trust.
“Anyone who is concerned about their own experience in the cadets, or that of someone they know, can contact us or their local police force. All reports will be treated seriously and with discretion.”