We are calling for the government to immediately bring into effect the rule that police who are being investigated for domestic violence and/or sexual violence should be suspended from active duty.
Between 2019 and 2020, 160 officers in the Met alone have been accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct. Of those only four of these people have been “suspended or restricted”
The tragic murder of Sarah Everard has raised many questions about how the police handle sexual misconduct accusations against officers, how they vet recruits, and how they monitor officers’ fitness to practice. We welcome an independent enquiry to look at these questions but, in the meantime, we need swift action to ensure that police officers who may be a threat to women’s safety are not allowed to remain in positions where they can abuse their power.
No woman should have to worry if the officer taking her statement after an attack is currently being investigated for sexual violence.
No woman making a 999 call when her partner is abusing her should have to worry that the officer coming to her home is being investigated for being an abuser.
The local Avon and Somerset police have been working hard to improve their response to sexual violence with the creation of Operation Bluestone. We do not want this work undermined by the absence of procedure that prioritises the safety of women.
Conviction rates for sexual violence are at an all time low. We do not want this further impacted by a system that allows those accused of dangerous crimes to be given access to women when we are at our most vulnerable.
If trust is to be built between women and the police, we need change and we need it now.