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2014 saw second yearly decline in disciplinary action taken against misbehaving cops

Kyodo

Showing progress in efforts to improve the image of police tarnished by misconduct in recent years, the number of officers and staff who were disciplined decreased by 89 on year to 300 in 2014 in a second consecutive year of decline, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The latest figure represents the third-lowest in a period from 2000, the earliest year such statistics remain on record, the agency said.

According to the agency, the decrease is most prominent in the number of sexual harrassment, down by 28 to 14, and “forgeries or destruction of public documents, or destruction of evidence” cases, which totaled 37, down by 10 from a year before.

Cases of “power harrassment,” in which bosses abuse staff using their position of power in an unfair manner, decreased by three to 13.

“I think the efforts to address inappropriate behavior that were stepped up in 2013, and optimization of work processes, and introduction of anti-sexual harrassment measures may be the key factors” behind the improvement, an agency official said.

The number of individuals who were fired or suspended from work dropped to 103, down by 31 from the previous year, while 71 were arrested, down by 15.

The most frequent reason for discipline was “opposite sex-related,” which mainly includes sexual harrassment, totaling 80, a decline of 32 cases. “Theft, fraud, embezzlement, etc.” declined by six to 67, while “traffic accidents and violations” grew by 11 to 47.

The top reason that led to arrests was “indecency,” which includes sexual assults, molestation and taking photos using a hidden camera. The number of such cases totaled 33. “Thefts, fraud and embezzlement” led to the arrest of 12 individuals, while arrests resulting from “traffic related” violations, including dunken driving and accidents involving deaths, totaled 10.

While the number of discipline actions increased in the “keibu” (inspector) rank, by one, the figures dropped in other ranks.

By age, disciplined individuals in their 50s significantly decreased in number to 63, down by 45 on year.