A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission has highlighted serious flaws in the way officers are vetted when dealing with sensitive and vulnerable people.
It was commissioned after former Northumbria Police Constable Stephen Mitchell was jailed for life in January last year, after being found guilty of sexually assaulting up to 16 women.
Mitchell preyed on drug addicts and prostitutes, promising to keep them out of prison in return for sexual favours.
The aim of the IPCC report was to better equip forces to tackle the problem and increase public confidence.
It reveals that over the past two years 54 cases of sexual exploitation by police officers have been reported across England and Wales. It also pin-points a number of key findings.
- Need to improve supervision and vetting procedures
- Introduce a code of conduct for all officers interviewing vulnerable people
- Believes under-reporting to be a significant problem