• Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Police officers accused of domestic abuse are still in service, data shows

By: Shelbin MS

NEW data has revealed that more than 1,000 police officers accused of domestic abuse are still in service, according to a media report. 

Eight out of 10 such officers kept their jobs after the allegations, with a small fraction being disciplined or dismissed, the Guardian reported.

A series of freedom of information requests by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed that 1,080 out of 1,319 police officers and staff who were reported for alleged domestic abuse, from January 2018 to September 2021,  were still working. Replies were received from 41 forces across the UK.

According to the report, just 36 officers and staff, 2.7 per cent of the total reported, were dismissed, while 203 either resigned or retired or left for other reasons.

Disciplinary actions, which can include written warnings or suspension, were taken against 120 officers and staff, 9.1 per cent of the total.

The Guardian report also revealed that the conviction rate of police officers and staff for domestic abuse is 3.4 per cent, lower than the 6.3 per cent in the general population.

In one case, a male officer with the Metropolitan police was alleged to have abused his partner, a female Met officer.

“They say how much they’re going to support women, and they don’t. That’s a really bitter pill to swallow,” the female officer told the Guardian.

“We see that there is a problem of misogyny, not just in the Met police but right across the police force. The whole of the police force needs a radical culture change,” Ruth Davison, the chief executive of the charity Refuge, was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“I can’t really overstate how serious this is. Domestic abuse is fundamentally about power and control, the abuse of power. And police officers do have power; they’re supposed to use that for our benefit to uphold the law and to keep us safe.”

Met Police chief Cressida Dick resigns after scandals rock force
London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The Met, the largest force, received 398 domestic abuse reports against serving officers and staff, with nine people being dismissed and 336 still working. Meanwhile, Police Scotland did not dismiss a single employee after receiving 67 reports in three years. The Police Service of Northern Ireland dismissed one employee after receiving 52 reports.

The second-largest force in England, West Midlands police, kept its records secret, claiming the cost of providing them would be excessive.

Concerns mounted over misogyny in the police after a serving Met officer kidnapped and murdered Sarah Everard as she walked home in London in March last year.

Last month an official report described officers at Charing Cross police station swapping grossly offensive WhatsApp messages, including about violence to women. It triggered the ousting of Cressida Dick as Met commissioner.

Jess Phillips, shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, has said that when cases are brought against police officers, they must act without fear or favour, and act accordingly.

A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs’ Council has assured that policing is working hard to root out those who display misogynistic characteristics.

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