2,000 officers accused of sex offences in past four years
2,000 officers accused of sex offences in past four years: Amid fallout from Sarah Everard horror, new figures show scale of law enforcement staff who faced allegations
- Allegations include 370 sexual assaults, 100 of rape and 18 of child sex offences
- Just 8 per cent of those accusations led to a dismissal, according to official data
- There were 514 proven sexual misconduct cases across 33 forces, study found
Almost 2,000 police and community support officers have been accused of sexual misconduct over the past four years, official data has revealed.
The allegations include more than 370 of sexual assault, nearly 100 of rape and 18 of child sex offences, according to analysis of freedom of information figures.
Just 8 per cent of those accusations led to a dismissal, according to the responses from 39 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.
And, where gender was recorded, the vast majority of the allegations were made against men.
The probe will investigate the ‘systemic’ failures that allowed Couzens, 48, to be employed as a police officer#
A separate study from Bournemouth University found there were 514 proven cases of sexual misconduct across 33 forces in the past five years – the most common of which was ‘abuse of position for a sexual purpose’.
It comes three days after it was announced that Baroness Casey of Blackstock will lead a review into Scotland Yard’s culture and vetting processes.
The review, in response to Sarah Everard’s murder by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens, will re-examine historical sexual misconduct allegations involving officers still serving in the force.
A separate independent inquiry was announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel last week.
The probe will investigate the ‘systemic’ failures that allowed Couzens, 48, to be employed as a police officer despite reports of indecent exposure and other signs he could be dangerous.
The parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer was said to have been referred to as ‘The Rapist’ by former colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary because he made women feel uncomfortable.
In March this year, he used his police-issue handcuffs and warrant card to stage a fake arrest of Miss Everard, a 33-year-old marketing manager, before raping and murdering her.
According to the Bournemouth research, the most common sexual misconduct offence involved officers allegedly using their power to form a relationship with a victim for sexually motivated purposes.
In March this year, Couzens used his police-issue handcuffs and warrant card to stage a fake arrest of Miss Everard before killing her
One such officer was detective constable Jatinder Bunger who was jailed for ten months in May. The former Lancashire Police officer admitted sending sexual messages to victims and obtaining intimate images from the phones of vulnerable women – including a rape victim.
The research also found that, of the 514 proven cases of sexual misconduct, 15 per cent involved officers who were at sergeant rank or higher.
Thirty officers were at a senior level of inspector or above – with the highest-ranking being an assistant chief constable. Separate data shows there were more than 500 claims of sexual offences against officers and staff at Scotland Yard between 2016 and 2020.
The findings are the latest blow for the police service and come just a week after the Mail revealed that nearly 1,000 officers and staff have been probed for posting offensive social media content.
The freedom of information figures are set to be broadcast in Channel 4’s Cops on Trial: Dispatches tonight.
A separate independent inquiry was announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel last week
The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Louise Rolfe told the programme: ‘We absolutely must, in policing, get to the bottom of what might have been behind these cases.
‘We know, very sadly, a small number of people are attracted to policing because of the power, the control and the opportunity it affords them. Our vetting processes are designed to root those people out.’
The End Violence Against Women Coalition – which includes organisations such as Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid – said few officers faced ‘any meaningful consequences’ for sexual misconduct against women and girls.
The group’s deputy director Deniz Ugur called for a radical overhaul of how police respond to violence against women, adding: ‘Ultimately, we need to address these widespread institutional failings before we can even begin to address women’s confidence in the police.’
The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it was down to individual forces to stamp out abuses of police powers.
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