IT was reported in The Guardian this week that more than 1500 UK police officers accused of violence against women in six months and less than 1% have been sacked, according to new figures.

At no point in the report does The Guardian clarify that these figures apply only to England and Wales.

BBC UK is more accurate and informative but the UK newspaper front pages have space only for Gary Lineker, Gary Glitter and the nuclear submarine deal.

The Scottish newspapers and editions do not cover the story at all, obsessed with a hoped-for SNP “civil war” over the leadership campaign. There have been times when The Telegraph or The Times has front-paged an England-only story, regardless of their readers.

READ MORE: Scottish Greens 'shut down' meeting on staying in government after SNP election

It is clearly important that readers, in particular women and girls in Scotland, are not misled and as a result, do not develop an uninformed picture of Police Scotland officers, leading to a potential loss of trust.

What do we know about the situation in Scotland? I can find no equivalent figures and so, in light of that, cannot and would not exclude the possibility of a comparable problem here.

We do know, based on a Freedom of Information request reported in the Daily Record, that in 2021/22, there were 4280 complaints overall, by men or women, about the behaviour of Police Scotland officers. Of those, just under 2% led to management action.

There is no reference in the report to violence against women and the words “rape” and “sex” only occur in a reference to the Metropolitan Police officer, Paul Carrick.

More usefully, we do know from a Scotland on Sunday investigation reported in February 2022, that: “More than 100 serving police officers have been subject to sexual offence allegations since 2014, with 20 convicted”.

The National: Police Scotland officers

These Scottish figures are, of course, specifically cases of complaints regarding a sexual assault, while the London figures cover all forms of violence against women including presumably an unspecified number of sexual assaults.

Once again, this limits comparisons but, given the very high number of complaints in the London figures and the serious nature of any physical assault on a woman by a man, to report these as UK figures may be seriously misleading and unjustifiably harmful to the reputation of Police Scotland’s many good officers working tirelessly to protect the public.

Regardless of any such clarifications, however, any sexual violence by police officers in Scotland, who should be able to be trusted absolutely, remains a monstrous crime and must be fully eradicated.

Police Scotland has shown that it is aware of this pressing need and has already committed, in January 2023, to fully vetting all of its 22,000 officers and civilian workers, not just new applicants, against national databases.

Perhaps most impressive, Police Scotland’s Don’t Be That Guy campaign with officers working in schools, has been associated with a significant reduction of 20% in the number of sex crimes reported in my local area of Ayrshire.

Further, in the interests of presenting a full and fair picture, there is a clear need for Police Scotland’s other achievements to get the kind of oxygen that media interests in the two Garys, other celebrity fads, and other agendas, denies them.

I have already written here of a number of facts much neglected elsewhere.

In 2021, Police Scotland launched a Code of Ethics for Policing in Scotland based on the central importance of human rights.

In November 2021, Police Scotland was praised for its application of the above values in its policing of the large COP26 events in Glasgow and, on one occasion, prevented a “battering ram” raid on a squat housing “environmental activists by officers from other parts of the UK”.

Police Scotland is continuing to make progress.

There remains much to be done, especially with regard to the protection of and treatment of women and girls, but progress will not be helped, and indeed may instead be hampered, by inaccurate and over-generalised media coverage.