subscribe: Posts | Comments

Stop the police policing their own domestic abuses

1 comment

police forces, policing colleagues, domestic abuse, sexual offences, Centre for Women's Justice, CWJ, super complaint, Police InspectorateLoyalty towards fellow officers may be getting in the way of justice for women who report abuse.

The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) has submitted a super-complaint to The Police Inspectorate highlighting systemic failures women are experiencing when reporting domestic abuse perpetrated by police officers and others employed by the police.

The CWJ has been contacted by 46 women who have felt severely let down by the police service after they reported domestic abuse and sexual offences committed by police officers and staff.

Domestic abuse and sexual violence cases are currently investigated by the same police force that employs the accused officer.

And evidence gathered suggests that there is a systemic problem around such cases with inadequate investigations, inadequate charging and misconduct decisions, and in some cases accused officers and their colleagues abusing their powers, harassing, punishing and victimising women.

Data gathered from 30 out of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, show a total of 666 reports of domestic abuse related incidents and offences perpetrated by police officers, PCSOs and other staff during a three-year period.

The super-complaint system was launched in 2018 to allow designated organisations to raise issues on behalf of the public about harmful patterns or trends in policing.

The CWJ is now calling on the bodies responsible for oversight of the police service to take action and improve the experiences and outcomes for women.

The charity is seeking a super-complaint investigation into this pattern of failings and has proposed some system changes, such as having all investigations carried out by a neighbouring police force, and greater involvement by the Independent Office of Police Conduct; officers guilty of abuse also being subject to misconduct procedures and that officers facing allegations be restricted from working with victims of domestic or sexual abuse.

Nogah Ofer, solicitor at Centre for Women’s Justice, said: “We are concerned about a ‘locker-room culture’ that trivialises violence against women, where loyalty towards fellow officers and concern about impact on their careers may be getting in the way of justice for women who report abuse.”

And one of the women included in the super-complaint said: “I felt incredibly let down by the police, I felt that I was being made a victim a second time, I hope something good will come out of the super-complaint to help other women in the future.”

To read the super-complaint, click here. To read the FOI data annex, click here.

  1. Help us hold police officers who abuse women to account – by Sarah and Jodie*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *