A statement from Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: “I want to sincerely apologise to everyone who has been affected by the actions of Wayne Scott whilst he was a serving officer with Cleveland Police.
“It is right that the public expect and are able to trust that our police officers and staff will keep them safe from harm and protect them. Wayne Scott betrayed this trust and manipulated those around him, both on and off duty.
“Not only did Scott’s actions fall well below the standards of professional conduct, his behaviour off duty was proven to be criminal and at Newcastle Crown Court in October 2013 he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.
“The success of the criminal case against him was thanks to the bravery shown by his victims and I would again like to thank these strong and courageous women in giving the evidence to put the sexual predator behind bars.
“This was a highly-complex investigation for our specialist officers, and it is these officers and others like them who are a credit to the police service.
“We employ hundreds of good and dedicated people and it’s widely accepted that in any large group there will be a few who bring shame on the vast majority of hard-working colleagues.
“There is no place for rotten apples within the police service or any other organisation.
“The investigation into the sexual offending of Wayne Scott has been supervised by the IPCC and led by one of our highly-experienced specialists, Detective Chief Superintendent Peter McPhillips.
“The misconduct element of the investigation was supported by the Head of Professional Standards from an alternative Force – a decision I made in order to demonstrate our commitment to transparency.
“It’s clear from the findings that officers and staff felt unable or unwilling to report or challenge his sexual remarks and degrading behaviour at work, that it was ‘just Wayne being Wayne’. Where incidents were reported, we recognise and accept that red flags were missed and the organisation dealt with cases in isolation, rather than joining the dots.
“This is unacceptable and we have reviewed and changed many of our practices to embed a culture of challenge, and create intelligence pictures of those employees whose behaviour comes to our attention.
“We have already recognised, implemented and completed many of the recommendations from the report to support change going forward.
“At the time of Wayne Scott’s appointment in August 2002, the relevant checks were undertaken and there was no adverse information about him.
His behaviour has only come to light during his time as a serving officer and once he was dismissed from the force.
“The report shows that there are snapshots of instances and concerns over a number of years, both on and off duty. Some of these cases were not reported to police, which shows that we must do more to build confidence.
“Police officers are not above the law. If they are found to have acted unprofessionally, unethically, or criminally – they will be treated the same as a member of the public.
“We continue to endeavour to do the right thing, but this is an example of where we didn’t get it right.
“We have taken these findings and have learnt from our mistakes and we have endeavoured and succeeded to bring this man to justice, I hope this gives some small comfort to the victims of Wayne Scott.”