The number of police officers under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct stands at over 150. The crimes of which officers stand accused range from harassment to rape with some victims targeted within police stations.

At least 156 cases were currently under investigation in England, Scotland and Wales, with 400 members of the public having made complaints within the last five years, The Times said. Meanwhile the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the body tasked with investigating serious misconduct within the force, said it had received 195 referrals relating to the abuse of police powers in the last two and a half years, eight of which were live.

The scale of the problem was alluded to by then Home Secretary Theresa May acknowledged earlier this year: "We do not know the true scale of this but everyone in this room will know it goes on far more than we might care to admit." At the same time, Mrs May announced an inquiry into the issue would be launched and is due to do so early next year.

At the same time, The Times reports that a new law, designed to punish police who embark on relationships with victims of crime is under consideration by the Law Commission, an independent body set up by Parliament to review the law.

Though the number of current investigations for sexual misconduct stands at 156 internal and external cases, the true number is thought to be higher. For example, according to the report, in some cases officers had been given the opportunity to resign rather than face misconduct hearings

The findings of the investigation come as a former Wales police chief was found guilty yesterday of abusing two teenage boys in the 1980s. The prosecution at Mold Crown Court told the jury that Gordon Anglesea, 79, had used his position and "connections with authority" to enable him to carry out the abuse. Anglesea was a superintendent in Wrexham.

On the same day, former police officer Allan Richards was found guilty of a string of sexual assault cases against 23 boys over a period of 37 years, including two counts of rape. Richards was said to have used his positions as a policeman and a Scout leader to "identify potential victims."