Police forces have reportedly been “failing” vulnerable women over sex misconduct claims, according to the BBC.
According to BBC data, just 24 have been charged out of 500 allegations of officers abusing their position – with one women stating that a detective “pursued a sexual relationship in texts and repeatedly visited her home”.
Interviews with multiple former police officers and women, leaked documents, and freedom of information request responses disclosed that one force deleted footage of a woman claiming an inspector had raped her, while another failed to prevent a rape detective’s phone being wiped following his arrest over claims he had sex with multiple victims, the BBC revealed.
What’s more, four women reported that the lead officer in a rape investigation team had had sex with them – all had previously reported being victims of rape and sexual assault.
Dame Vera Baird, the former victims’ commissioner and former solicitor general, said:
“Complaints should be going out to another force and not being done internally. Who is policing the police professional standard departments?”
Responding to the investigation into forces failing women over police sex misconduct claims, Lucy Hadley, Head of Policy at Women’s Aid, said:
“Urgent, institutional and systemic change is needed to increase women’s confidence in the police. This new data from the BBC further demonstrates the urgency for reform within policing, especially when it comes to investigating and convicting officers who prey on women.
The BBC investigation found that in addition to disturbingly low conviction rates, crucial evidence relating to officers under investigation has been deleted – a concerning sign of corruption and collusion.
Urgent reform is needed to police vetting, recruitment, misconduct and complaints systems, with the responsibility for overseeing investigations relating to police perpetrators of domestic or sexual violence being handled by a separate force.”
Hadley also stated that women must feel that police will protect them and “shield the from those seeking to cause them harm”. She continued:
“The shocking, ongoing revelations about how police officers exploit this role to abuse women demands urgent change and the government must hold police forces accountable for action.”