POLICE Scotland have issued a statement amid reports that an official document used the term “minor-attracted people” (MAP) to describe paedophiles.
Campaigners say the controversial term could normalise child abuse and argue against the use of the phrase.
In the force’s yearly assessment report there is a reference to Police Scotland working on the Horizon Europe Project, a consortium which aims to tackle child sexual abuse.
The “MAP” phrase appeared in commissioning documents for the Horizon Europe Project, and therefore in the final report – prompting Scottish Tories to warn against the “softening” of language around paedophilia in official guidance.
Social work consultant Maggie Mellon had also said there was a “danger of normalising and therefore perhaps decriminalising a serious offence”.
Now Police Scotland have issued a full response to the media row, arguing that the force has been “misrepresented”.
Detective Chief Superintendent Sam Faulds, head of public protection for Police Scotland, said: “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 does not use the term Minor-Attracted Person to describe this type of offender and any suggestion otherwise completely misrepresents our position.”
He went on: “The term referenced in a Police Scotland report in June 2022 was quoted from proposal documents for the establishment of the Horizon Project, a European consortium to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation.
“At the first meeting of the consortium, in Warsaw in September 2022, Police Scotland officers successfully lobbied for the MAP term to be removed from recognised terminology used by more than 20 European partners.
“Our view was that the term was entirely unacceptable in describing someone either involved in sexual offending against children or who has indecent thoughts towards them.”
The Detective Chief Superintendent concluded: “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.”