Police drop most complaints of officer violence against women

More than 1,500 police officers were accused of violence against women and girls in a six-month period, figures for England and Wales suggest. But of the resolved cases, only 13 were sacked, according to data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Reported offences ranged from sexual attacks to complaints of excessive force by officers during an arrest. Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, NPCC lead on violence against women and girls, called the data “disturbing”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she said a large proportion of the investigations had yet to be completed, but added it did show “we cannot be complacent”.

“We need really robust investigations to take forward and dismiss anyone who we think is working in our organization who shouldn’t be and has been found guilty of allegations that are relating to violence against women and girls,” she said. During the six months to March 2022, members of the public made 524 complaints relating to violence against 867 officers.

Of these, 290 cases have been resolved, with nine in 10 ending in no further action. During the same period, 672 police officers and other staff were reported by colleagues. So far, 167 cases have been dealt with – and, of these, seven in 10 ended in no further action.

The report said the true figures were likely to be far higher because of under-reporting by police staff, and inaccuracies and inconsistencies in data collection across forces.

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, the NPCC said. One woman who did report her case was Alice, not her real name, who was married to a West Yorkshire Police firearms officer.

She said the force failed to fully investigate her allegations of domestic violence and the whole experience had destroyed her trust in the police.

“I think it’s scary, the fact that he’s had little control of himself and then been able to go to work and get a loaded gun out and be walking the streets,” she told BBC News.

Alice said her former husband claimed her word would never be believed against his – a police officer. She described West Yorkshire Police’s response as an “intentional overlooking of his behaviour”. I have cited to them extreme controlling and coercive behaviour and no investigation was opened,” she told BBC News.

“The reality is, in my case, that it’s not taken seriously and it feels as though they cover up for one another. It’s quite unbelievable that the people that are meant to protect you are the ones that are helping the person who’s abused you, and poses a threat to you.

“It’s just an exhausting and frightening place to be in.”

After speaking to Alice, the BBC contacted West Yorkshire Police. An officer has been suspended and the matter referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“While we cannot comment further on this specific matter, we encourage anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to contact us,” said a spokesperson for the force.

“Allegations are taken seriously, including allegations involving West Yorkshire Police officers and staff, and will always be fully investigated. The NPCC also looked at violence against women and girls generally during the six months to March 2022.

These figures show 447,431 recorded domestic abuse crimes and, overall, at least 507,827 crimes of violence against women and girls.

Similar to other crimes, only 6% of these resulted in charges, and domestic abuse survivors have told BBC News that support from police too often falls short.

Source: BBC

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People should check the packaging of any cough tablets or syrups they have at home to see if pholcodine is listed among the ingredients. If it is, talk to your pharmacist about taking a different medicine. Learn more

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