Bristol

Avon and Somerset Police 'fuelled doctor's fantasies,' says victim

Dr Reg Bunting / Avon and Somerset HQ
Image caption Dr Reg Bunting was chief medical officer at Avon and Somerset Police between 1990 and 1997

A victim of a police doctor, who carried out "grossly" unacceptable examinations, has criticised a force for failing to act on complaints about his behaviour.

Dr Reg Bunting, who died in 2013, was Avon and Somerset Police's chief medical officer between 1990 and 1997.

The victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the force "fuelled Dr Bunting's fantasies" by doing nothing.

The force has since apologised "unreservedly" to those affected.

Most of Dr Bunting's victims were new recruits to the force.

Following a number of allegations against him between 1981 and 2002, including groping, fondling and reported sexual assault, an independent investigation was commissioned by the force.

'This wasn't right'

It found in 44 of the 112 cases looked at, his examinations "fell below a common or acceptable standard for the time" and "woefully or grossly below" in 10 cases.

The officer, a frontline policeman for more than 20 years, said he was groped by Dr Bunting during his medical assessment.

"I thought this wasn't right, but what do you do?" he said.

"He knew that we needed to get through the medical.

"He had the power to abuse his position and do what he wanted. I don't think anyone would have complained because it was a hard job to get into."

The report identified three opportunities for the force to have intervened after concerns were raised.

The victim said: "They were fuelling Dr Bunting's fantasies and feeding him victims.

"They gave him carte blanche and missed three chances to prevent crime."

Two further victims of Dr Bunting told the BBC they were unhappy at how the force dealt with their complaints.

Avon and Somerset Police has since apologised to victims for "failing to ensure acceptable medical conduct during their examinations", and praised the people who had come forward.

"Had Dr Bunting been alive, there would have been sufficient evidence to interview him under caution as a criminal suspect," a spokesman said.

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