Policing has 'lost the trust of many women and girls', admits top officer

Just a tiny fraction of police staff who received complaints over their treatment of women were sacked, new data shows.

Statistics published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) from a six-month period last year showed less than 1% of more than 1,500 officers and other workers facing the complaints were fired.

But now a top officer has admitted ‘policing has list the trust of many women and girls’ in the wake of these figures.

Deputy chief constable Maggie Blyth, NPCC co-ordinator for violence against women and girls, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We know that policing has lost the trust of many women and girls across the country and behind these figures, of course, is a victim in every case, and also importantly, is a perpetrator.

‘So in publishing these figures today, we’re making very clear, both in terms of public complaints and internal misconduct, we need very robust investigation.’

The data showed 524 complaints were made by members of the public against 867 staff working in police forces in England and Wales, between October 2021 and March 2022.

Some 290 of these cases have now been resolved, with 91% resulting in no further action and no one was sacked.

And over the same time period, a further 672 police officers or staff faced conduct cases relating to violence against women and girls.

This included allegations such as sexual harassment, discreditable conduct not in the execution of their duty, and sexual assault.

As a result of these investigations – with 167 resolved so far – 13 officers and staff have been sacked so far.

Ms Blyth added: ‘As you say, the figures are very nuanced, it’s a snapshot in time last year, the data is now a year old, but it allows us to have a trajectory each year in publishing this information of how we are strengthening those robust investigations.

‘We don’t want – in policing – people who are guilty of these sorts of crimes against women and girls.

‘But these are also allegations, so in terms of those that concluded in that six-month period, they were smaller numbers.

‘There were still 45% alive cases in terms of public complaints, 74% internal allegations hadn’t actually concluded. So it’s really important to delve down into the report to understand the figures.’

The figures have been published following the high profile cases of police officers Wayne Couzens and David Carrick.

‘We need to be harsher in the sanctions that we are imposing upon anyone where there are allegations of this type of behaviour, whether it’s from a police complaint or whether it’s from internal misconduct,’ said Ms Blyth.

‘I would hope as we publish this [data] again in a year’s time, we will see probably more cases as we shine the light and turn those stones, more coming to light but speeding up that dismissal and removal from the service.’

Last week Wayne Couzens was sentenced to another 19 months in jail for exposing himself to women three times.

The former Metropolitan Police officer, 50, is already serving a whole life sentence for abducting, raping and murdering Sarah Everard.

Although he would have died behind bars regardless, the case raised further questions over whether police missed chances to stop him earlier.

The Centre for Women’s Justice campaign group said: ‘We saw in the Couzens and Carrick cases that the failure to take action or link repeated reports can have devastating consequences.’

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.’

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