Police Scotland has defended a controversial move to describe paedophiles as ‘minor-attracted people’ in a crucial top-level report, with the force asking the people to blame the EU.
Lain Livingstone, the Chief Constable, in his annual year-end report had allegedly referred to child abusers as Minor-Attracted People (MAP).
Mr Livingstone’s report has raised concerns about softening language around child abuse in the wnorthern side of the United Kingdom.
His report also comes amid wider concerns by campaigners over what they see as attempts to rebrand paedophilia as a harmless sexual preference.
The report, which assessed the force’s performance during the past year, outlined that Police Scotland has been working to support a European project to “counter the effects of child sexual exploitation”.
In reference to this project, the report read: “This project’s main agenda is to develop understanding and approach to avoid the victimisation of children by engaging Minor-Attracted People (MAPs) and provide them with the necessary support, treatment and guidance to help prevent criminal activities.”
But a spokesperson for the Police Scotland stressed that MAP is not a routine term used by the force to describe child abusers, noting that its use in the report was misunderstood.
“Police Scotland does not use the term Minor-Attracted Person to describe this type of offender and any suggestion otherwise completely misrepresents our position,” Sam Faulds, the head of public protection for Police Scotland said in a statement.
Ms Faulds said the force has been condemning anyone who commits sexual offences against children and those caught have been bought to justice.
“We utterly condemn anyone who commits sexual offences against children, be it individuals or organised paedophile networks, and we work tirelessly to bring them to justice.
“Police Scotland’s National Child Abuse Investigation Unit works closely with partners to investigate all reports of child sexual exploitation, identify and apprehend abusers and reduce their opportunity for sexual offending, both physically and in the digital space,” she added.
The term MAP is contentious as child abusers are trying to escape the stigma attached to paedophilia and maintain they should be regarded as a niche group alongside the LGBT community.
Kenny McAskill, the Alba Party MP for East Lothian, who has been a strong voice in the campaign, said any use of euphemisms in relation to child sex abusers was “baloney”, although, he saluted the force for quickly coming out to denounce its earlier stance.
“Spouting these euphemisms simply masks the reality and their danger,” Mr McAskill said.
He added “I very much welcome the common sense approach from Police Scotland, though even in commissioning documents these euphemisms should be avoided as they mask the reality and hide the horror. The term in whatever context is baloney.”
Maggie Mellon, an independent social work consultant, said the term MAP risked “the danger of normalising and therefore perhaps decriminalising a serious offence”.
“There should be diagnostic and treatment options for those who present a risk to children but the police are not a therapeutic service – they should be devoting their resources to closing down porn sites that feature children and abuse of women and upping their detection and conviction rates for those promoting child abuse,” Ms Mellon said.
The MAP propaganda drive has been compared to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) campaign in the 1970s and 80s which piggy-backed on the gay liberation movement to push for pro-child abuse policies, such as lowering the age of consent to just four.
In the past year, Police Scotland has already come under fire for saying they would record rapes by offenders with a penis as being committed by a woman if the attacker “identifies as female”.
Activists and campaigners have said the act would warp rape statistics and threaten women’s safety by understating the threat of male violence amid fears that the controversial Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would compromise the safety of women-only spaces such as changing rooms and toilets.
The bill was passed two days to Christmas.
JK Rowling, an author and campaigner was among those mocking the Police Scotland, comparing the move with her reference to George Orwell’s totalitarian novel 1984: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.”
Although, the force immediately defended the policy claiming concerns were “hypothetical” because the circumstances had never arisen.
“The sex/ gender identification of individuals who come into contact with the police will be based on how they present or how they self-declare, which is consistent with the values of the organisation.
“Police Scotland requires no evidence or certification as proof of biological sex or gender identity other than a person’s self-declaration unless it is pertinent to any investigation with which they are linked,” Fil Capaldi, Detective Superintendent had said then.