Wednesday, 21 February, 2024

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Police forces faced 1000 complaints about treatment of women in six months

Police forces faced 1,000+ complaints about treatment of women in six months

More than 1,000 complaints were made against police officers and staff relating to their treatment of women in a six-month period, new figures show.

Data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on Tuesday showed 653 conduct cases, against 672 individuals, relating to violence against women and girls between October 2021 and March 2022.

There were also 524 complaints made by members of the public against 867 people in the same time period.

The complaints related to various allegations including sexual harassment, discreditable conduct not in the execution of their duty, and sexual assault.

Police leaders will release the statistics each year as part of efforts to tackle misogyny in policing after scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer and Pc David Carrick being unmasked as a prolific sex offender.

The NPCC said the figures, for all police forces in England and Wales including the British Transport Police, equate to 0.7% of the total police workforce employed in March 2022.

Of the conduct cases, just under half (48%) related to discreditable conduct not in the execution of their duty, around a fifth (19%) were allegations of sexual assault, and 13% were accusations of sexual harassment.

Among the complaints from the public, 63% were accusations over use of force, 9% overbearing or harassing behaviour, and 6% sexual assault.

Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, NPCC co-ordinator for violence against women and girls, said: “Our publication today reinforces the urgency and importance of our current mission to lift the stones and root abusers and corrupt individuals out of policing alongside delivering the long-term, sustainable improvements to standards, vetting and misconduct processes we have promised.

“A range of allegations are included, such as use of force, sexual comments, overbearing behaviour and sexual assault, and the numbers under investigation equate to 0.7% of the workforce.

“The vast majority of officers and staff are professional and committed but I know it is shocking to hear about any potential predators in policing and that this can further shake fragile trust.

“It’s important to be clear: data released today is intended to be a critical baseline for assessing police performance over time. It presents a picture from over a year ago rather than today.

“Over the past 18 months, police chiefs have focused on identifying wrongdoing in police ranks, strengthening misconduct investigations and toughening sanctions.

“My expectation is that the impact of those changes will be evident when we publish our next assessment – with more women having the confidence to report concerns, more investigations under way, more cases closed and more sanctions and dismissals.”

The NPCC said that between October 2021 and March 2022 more than 507,827 offences of violence against women and girls were recorded.

Of these, 61% resulted in no criminal justice outcome.

Ms Blyth said too many cases are closed because of evidential difficulties and victims withdrawing their support for a prosecution.

Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs said: “Victims and survivors need to see that robust action is being taken by the police as confidence remains at an all-time low, and I welcome this report by the NPCC.

“It shows that forces are taking steps in the right direction to tackle perpetrators within the police as well as addressing sexism and misogyny within policing.

“There is still a long way to go.”

Farah Nazeer, chief executive of charity Women’s Aid, said only 6% of the reported offences of violence against women and girls ended with a suspect being charged.

She added: “These statistics have deeply worrying implications for women’s already low levels of trust in the criminal justice system.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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