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Police 'boys' club' accused of targeting crime victims for sex

A group of male officers are being investigated over sexist bullying of female colleagues.

By Russell Findlay

A member of Police Scotland's so-called 'boys' club' is accused of targeting female crime victims for sex.

A woman has told STV News that she slept with a police officer at her home on several occasions - months after he arrested her partner for domestic violence.

She came forward after seeing Thursday night's STV News report about a group of male officers in Forres, Moray, who are accused of bullying female colleagues and acts of criminality.

The officer, who was based in Elgin, is a close friend of Officer A - the alleged ringleader of the 'boys' club', who are the subject of a ten-month probe by the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc).

Investigation: Forres police station is at the centre of an inquiry.
Investigation: Forres police station is at the centre of an inquiry. Google 2019

The woman, who cannot be identified, was initially reassured when the 34-year-old officer began checking she was okay after her partner's arrest in 2017 - but now says she feels betrayed.

She told STV News: "I'd never have thought that they would prey on a vulnerable girl for their own purposes. I genuinely thought at the time they were concerned about how I was feeling and if I was okay but that wasn't the case.

"I feel more embarrassed really because they've made me feel little as a person. He's come and treated me that way and I've just been made an idiot of really."

The married constable began calling the 23-year-old's mobile, then appeared at her home. He often turned up alone in a police vehicle while on duty - sometimes with a McDonald's meal - and they would share a cup of tea.

The relationship developed and the officer used Snapchat to allegedly send sexual naked photos of himself. They had sex at her home on various occasions.

She said: "Now I look back on it I think that it's awful that police officers have seen a female like myself that's been vulnerable and they've thought 'she's going to think I'm giving her attention and there for her', when in actual fact their doing it for themselves. They're not actually caring about people.

"He was sending me nude pictures of himself in his bedroom and being quite sexual. I felt at the time I was lonely, by myself and he was giving me attention so I just thought it was okay.

"Later on I found out there had been more girls in the area he'd been sending nude pictures to and turning up at their house, so then I knew that it was wrong."

Pirc launched its 'boys' club' investigation in February - two years after a female officer accused her police officer ex of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The female officer told them her initial complaint was not properly investigated and that she suffered a campaign of bullying and intimidation.

On one occasion, three 'boys' club' officers dumped her in a forest alone at night to "teach her a lesson".

Pirc received more complaints from other female officers and civilian staff, including a pregnant officer who was locked in a room at Forres police station, forcing her to flee from a fire escape.

The domestic violence victim was approached by detectives in March. They were conducting a separate investigation into numerous alleged crimes by officers.

She said: "Detectives from Glasgow came up three times. They told me to give a statement and I kind of had to. Other girls had made complaints and my name had been mentioned."

The 'boys' club' began to intimidate her after discovering she had given a statement.

She said: "After complaining to the counter-corruption detectives, the local police kept stopping my car and checking my tyres. They also kept sitting in their vehicles at the bottom of my street.

"One time I came home from work and there was two police vans at the bottom of my lane and it was dark. I was wondering when I went to my bed are they going to come to my door, have I done something wrong?

"So I felt on edge because I wasn't sure if it was because they're angry that I've made a complaint about the other police officer. It was quite stressful because the police, his friends, were trying to intimidate me.

"It felt like they were intimidating me because I had reported one of their pals. I could not sleep at night and was anxious."

Despite cooperating with the police, the woman has not been told what action was taken against the officer, being wrongly led to believe that he had been arrested and appeared in court.

He has in fact been suspended from duty while Crown Office prosecutors are considering a report into the allegations.

She said: "Although it was to do with other female police officers I thought, who else has this happened to? It might not just be in my area, it could be other police officers in other towns where it's happened to other girls.

"I do feel now that if any time that I needed help I would be reluctant to phone the police because I wouldn't be sure if they still didn't like me because of what happened before and if they would be any help.

"It is quite scary to not know if they're going to be there for you or not."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1441282-analysis-do-police-problems-prove-there-is-life-on-mars/ | default

Police Scotland declined to make any officer available for interview.

Assistant chief constable Alan Speirs said: "Recent reporting by STV News has sought to link a small number of unrelated incidents which are entirely unconnected and occurred over a number of years.

"Whilst I cannot fully comment on all aspects of these allegations within Moray, I can provide reassurance that they are subject to thorough and independent investigation.

"In February this year, a newly-recruited officer resigned before the conclusion of misconduct proceedings into inappropriate use of a police vehicle.

"Another officer was relocated in March this year while enquiries are ongoing into their conduct. A third officer, who has been reported to Crown Office, is currently suspended.

"These matters are not connected and have occurred over the last three years.

"Police Scotland is supporting the ongoing investigation by Pirc.

"Following the conclusion of all Pirc and Crown-related inquiries Police Scotland will address any outstanding conduct complaints.

"The vast majority of our officers and staff conduct themselves with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism. Any allegation of misconduct will be thoroughly investigated."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Criminal Allegations Against the Police Division has received a report concerning a 34-year-old police officer. The report remains under consideration."

STV News asked justice secretary Humza Yousaf for an interview - but he declined.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "We condemn all forms of misogyny.

"The public rightly expects the highest standards of conduct from all police officers.

"As this is a live independent investigation, it would not be appropriate to comment further."

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