Monday, July 4, 2022

Revealed: The hundreds of sexual allegations against serving police officers

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Shot of the back of a police officer's jacket with the word police written across the back
The murder of Sarah Everard has raised troubling questions about who is serving in our police forces (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

At least 750 serving police officers have been accused of sexual misconduct over just five years.

The new figures emerged days after home secretary Priti Patel launched an investigation into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed murderer Wayne Couzens to serve in the police.

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Sarah Everard’s death has shone a light on attitudes towards violence against women in British policing.

The prime minister has vowed to tackle the country’s dismally low rape conviction rates and the VELOXNEWSpolitan Police’s vetting procedures will be investigated.

In the aftermath of his guilty plea, it emerged Couzens, who was nicknamed ‘the rapist’ by some colleagues, was linked to a flashing incident prior to joining the force which was missed in pre-employment checks.

New data obtained by PA via freedom of information laws reveals there have been widespread claims of sexual misconduct across the country’s police forces.

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Of the total number of cases logged by forces over the five years, only 34 resulted in dismissals.

In at least seven cases, an officer was listed as having either resigned or been dismissed, and at least six officers would have been dismissed if they had not resigned first.

Police in hi-visibility jackets policing crowd control
Hundreds of officers have been accused of sexual misconduct while serving in the police (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

At least one officer resigned before a misconduct hearing, and in one case the officer was listed as deceased, but not all forces provided a detailed breakdown of sanctions taken.

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The overall figure does not include the Met, which did not respond to the request, but a previous publicly available FOI request revealed Britain’s largest force recorded 530 allegations of ‘sexual offences’ against serving officers and staff members between 2016 and 2020.

As previously reported, Couzens was the 27th Met officer to be found guilty of a sex crime since 2016.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, which includes groups such as Rape Crisis, Refuge and Women’s Aid, said few officers face ‘any meaningful consequences’ for violence against women and girls.

Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks to the media at the Home Office in Westminster, London, after police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was handed a whole life order at the Old Bailey for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. Picture date: Thursday September 30, 2021. PA Photo. Couzens was a serving Pc with the Metropolitan Police when he kidnapped, raped and strangled the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home in Clapham, south London, in March. See PA story COURTS Everard. Photo credit should Marc Ward/PA Wire
Priti Patel has announced an investigation into how Wayne Couzens was able to serve in the police (Picture: PA)

Deputy director Denzi Ugur said: ‘We need to see a radical overhaul of how the police respond to violence against women – especially within their own ranks.

‘This means greater accountability and urgent, co-ordinated and strategic action to address violence against women.

‘Ultimately, we need to address these widespread institutional failings before we can even begin to address women’s confidence in the police.’

Last week, former Met chief superintendent Parm Sandhu called for all serving police officers to be revetted.

There are 43 police forces covering England and Wales, as well as Police Scotland and the British Transport Police.

Separate publicly available data reveals Surrey Police recorded 36 allegations of sexual misconduct against its officers over the same period.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said: ‘The abuse of police powers for purposes of sexual exploitation, or violence, has a devastating impact on victims, and a serious impact on the public’s confidence in individual officers and the service in general.’

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