All serving police officers accused of domestic or sexual abuse face misconduct hearings as well as criminal investigations, according to the highest ranking domestic abuse police officer in England and Wales.
Last month it became known that almost 150 women have introduce oneself with reports of rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse by former partners in the police force. Louisa Rolfe, head of the National Police Chiefs Council on Domestic Abuse, said she was “appalled” by the allegations and “doubly horrified” by reports that they had not been properly investigated.
He said the forces must ensure that there is “no conflict of interest [and] investigators have no connection to the perpetrator ”if a complaint of abuse was made against an officer on duty.
When asked whether officers should automatically face an internal investigation as well, he replied: “Yes, they should, they absolutely should.” Unless a criminal investigation has concluded that there is no case to answer, officers should be formally investigated internally for misconduct, even if there is insufficient evidence for a criminal trial, he said.
During the three years to April 2018, almost 700 cases of alleged domestic abuse involving police and staff were reported, according to freedom of information requests made by the Investigative Journalism Office (TBIJ). The data, from three-quarters of the forces, showed that police employees accused of domestic abuse were one-third less likely to be convicted than the general public, and less than a quarter of complaints resulted in action. disciplinary.
When victims were asked if they could trust that their complaints would be handled correctly, Rolfe said: “I desperately want it to be, and I think many do, but it is clear… that is not enough and we have work to do. “
He urged victims to “please report” the abuse. “If you don’t have the confidence to report it to your local police force, seek the support of one of the brilliant domestic abuse charities; very appropriately they will be very demanding on your behalf, ”he said.
In March of last year, the legal charity Center for Women’s Justice launched a super-lawsuit, which contained the experiences of 19 women, arguing that the complaints made against the officers on duty were withdrawn, insufficiently investigated or ignored.
Since then, 144 more women have come forward, said Nogah Ofer, the CWJ attorney who led the super lawsuit. “We have been surprised by the magnitude of it,” he said.
Sue Fish, former Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Police and law enforcement leaders must face the fact that this is not uncommon. If I hear it described as a rare or isolated incident, it makes me want to scream, frankly. “
An “incredibly defensive” culture within the police and a reluctance in the CPS to charge officers made investigating the allegations problematic, he said.
‘The public would be shocked’
When Sarah was a young recruit in the Gwent police, she began dating an older and taller officer, but her demeanor soon turned controlling and abusive, she said.
“His behavior was crazy, like locking me out of the house if I was 30 seconds late, and physical things … I had bruises,” he said. “The mental torture was the worst. I would say that if you tell someone how I am, I will have your job. “
She reported several assaults, including telling police that he had pinned her against a wall while holding a knife, but said nothing was done.
It was only later that she learned that another recruit, Jodie, had already reported Clarke Joslyn to PC for controlling behavior and stalking two years earlier, but the Gwent police had not acted.
Jodie first filed her complaint about Joslyn in 2012, Sarah in 2014. She faced a disciplinary hearing in 2019. The panel concluded that “the public would be shocked that a police officer behaved in the manner that Mr. Joslyn has done.” Joslyn had been suspended with full pay for five years and resigned before his disciplinary hearing, which recommended firing.
Sarah and Jodie, they are not their real names, they are fundraising for a legal challenge against the Gwent police for their “protection from a perpetrator of domestic violence in their ranks.”
“We want an apology,” Sarah said. “I want you to raise your hand and say: the way we treated you was wrong, and it will not happen to any other woman.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism