The Metropolitan Police – which has already been found to be institutionally corrupt, racist, misogynist and homophobic – was responsible for the highest number of recent misconduct trials
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Around half of recent police misconduct trials were related to extreme misogyny, sexual offences or domestic violence by officers, Byline Times can reveal in a shocking new analysis.
This newspaper also found that, for 12 of England and Wales’ 43 police forces, these were the only type of misconduct trials held.
The cases analysed included a large number of paedophiles, senior officers who forced their juniors to touch their penis, multiple accused rapists, officers repeatedly making advances towards vulnerable victims of crime, and even one who expressed praise for Sarah Everard’s killer and suggested that he was a fan of rape pornography at work.
The findings have been held up as “further evidence” that the police are institutionally misogynistic by campaigners.
The analysis found that the Metropolitan Police made up the biggest share of misconduct trials in the period (25%) by a large margin. The British Transport Police had the second-highest number, making up 7% of trials.
The nature of the cases themselves provide a shocking insight into the offences committed by serving police officers.
City of London Detective Sergeant Giles Kitchener sent colleagues a sickening joke about the murder of Sarah Everard just days after she had been abducted and killed, and also suggested to a female colleague that videos of rape did not count as “extreme” pornography.
His misconduct trial also found that he made multiple homophobic comments to colleagues, including that he would not be comfortable taking his child to London’s Soho district, as well as telling a female officer “you dress like a typical lesbian”. He also made Islamophobic comments to a Muslim colleague.
Other cases included multiple senior officers who committed serious sexual offences against officers under their supervision, including one British Transport Police officer who forced a vulnerable junior officer to touch his groin.
One Gloucestershire police officer was fired after he was accused of trying to film a naked female colleague as she showered; while an officer in Lancashire was fired after he kissed and inappropriately touched a trainee colleague, before later FaceTiming her and saying that he had an erection.
A large number of cases concerned police officers who had messaged women who had been the victims of crimes to try and start a sexual relationship with them – often after taking their details as part of the investigation into their case.
In at least one case, an officer with Northumbria Police started a sexual relationship with a vulnerable victim whose crimes they were investigating, before eventually attempting to rape them as they slept.
In another, a former North Wales Police officer attempted to start an “inappropriate and unwelcome” relationship with the victim of a sexual offence.
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, told Byline Times: “Women and girls need a police service that they trust will keep them safe. But the Government has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to police standards, leaving people who should never have been police officers in the first place in forces around the country. The failure to drive up standards lies with the Conservative Government that has repeatedly refused to tackle the problem.
“The next Labour government will make rules on vetting, training and misconduct mandatory for all forces and automatically suspend any officer accused of serious crimes like rape and domestic abuse, so that we can restore trust in the police to its highest ever levels.”
Holly Bird, research and policy officer at police reform group StopWatch, said: “This analysis is further evidence that the police are – as the recent Casey Review also found – institutionally misogynistic. Dozens of high-profile cases in the news, multiple official reviews over the past couple of years, and a constantly expanding body of research prove that, far from being able to protect women from harm, the police are themselves a threat to women’s safety and wellbeing.
“While the details of these misconduct trials are abhorrent, they represent just a tiny fraction of actual instances of police-perpetrated sexual violence. We know that the scale of the police’s misogyny problem is in fact far greater.”
While the Government publishes annual data on police misconduct cases – 1,450 were recorded in the year to March 2022 – they do not break down in detail the exact nature of the offences listed.
For this analysis, Byline Times examined the outcomes of the 128 police misconduct trials at the UK’s 43 police forces between December 2022 and March 2023. It is likely to reflect just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to police misconduct cases – in part because police forces can choose to remove any public posts about the outcome of misconduct trials after 28 days. This practice is conducted in a sporadic pattern across the country and occurs in even some of the most serious misconduct cases, including that of serial rapist David Carrick.
This fact forced Byline Times to rely on third-party databases of outcomes and newspaper reporting for some of the cases covered. At the same time, previous analysis has found that just 1% of complaints about police officers lead to formal proceedings and that 92% of complaints result in no action being taken at all.
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“No officer or member of staff who engages in abusive or inappropriate behaviour should think that they can hide within policing,” Craig Guildford, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s complaints and misconduct lead chief constable, said. “Police chiefs are committed to rooting out those who betray our professional standards and empowering all officers and staff to call out and report concerns.
“Changes to misconduct regulations have helped policing to determine the facts of a case more quickly, remove or sanction those guilty of misconduct, and exonerate the innocent. The most recent Home Office data on misconduct shows that, where grounds have been met to carry out accelerated misconduct hearings, the overwhelming majority ended in dismissal, or would have ended in dismissal had the officer still been employed in policing.
“As we take this action, more misconduct will be uncovered. While every example is uncomfortable and difficult, each action we take to detect misconduct is a demonstration of our values, our intolerance of those who don’t uphold them, and our unrelenting determination to uphold the highest standards of professional behaviour.”
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael told Byline Times: “Violence against women and girls has no place in our society, not least in the police force that is meant to keep us all safe. It’s horrifying to hear how widespread misconduct related to sexism and domestic violence is in police forces across the country.
“It’s understandable that many women feel like their trust in the police has been eroded. And Suella Braverman must take personal responsibility for this, drawing up an urgent plan on how to restore public trust in policing. That’s both about vetting and about people being confident the police will be there for them when they need them.”
For Lee Jasper, former policing director for London and founder of the Alliance for Police Accountability, this newspaper’s findings “expose the malignant, noxious culture of a police force that is steeped in a culture of “old boys club’ misogyny and criminality”.
“Coming on top of the findings of the Casey Review, these cases will simply reinforce the views of many that the current institution of British policing is way beyond saving,” he added.
The Metropolitan Police and Police Federation refused to comment.
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