Saturday, May 15

Revealed: the grim list of complaints of sexual abuse against the Metropolitan Police | UK News


An extraordinary catalog of allegations of sexual misconduct against metropolitan police officers, including allegations that one had sex with a rape victim and another assaulted a survivor of domestic abuse, is revealed in documents obtained by the Observer.

The revelations will intensify pressure on the Met after its officers mistreated women at last Saturday’s vigil for Sarah Everard, where hundreds demanded the right to be safe on the streets of London.

The organizers of the vigil on Clapham Common later accused the force of losing the faith of women and failing to address their “institutional misogyny.”

Activists said the latest revelations amplified concern among women that the police cannot be trusted to protect their safety.

According to the documents, released under the freedom of information laws, the rape victim reported that the investigator “took advantage of her vulnerability and had sex with her on two occasions.” The officer was later removed from office.

There were a total of 594 complaints against Met employees between 2012 and 2018, of which 119 were confirmed. Among them was a Met officer who was fired after allegedly posing as a woman online “to promote his sexual inclinations and also to film a woman apparently having non-consensual sex with a man in a public park.”

Another officer was forced to leave the Met on allegations that he was having a “sexual relationship with a resident of a women’s shelter,” a safe house where victims of domestic violence seek refuge.

Other serious cases include an officer who met a woman while on duty and later visited her home where sexual intercourse led to a rape charge. He received a verbal warning and a board of directors, the least severe censure an officer can receive after a misconduct hearing.

“We expect a higher standard from our protectors,” said Nazir Afzal, a former crown chief prosecutor. “The aim of the police is that they work with the most vulnerable.”

The details, revealed by the Met after the Observer requested information on complaints about sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape against agents, community support agents and special agents, arising from the 594 complaints against Met employees.

Individual cases are not dated, but are recorded as a summary of the allegations when the complaint was first received. The result of any disciplinary action is also given. Of the 119 cases that were confirmed, 63 resulted in layoffs, retirements or resignations.

However, what is not disclosed is how many cases entered the criminal justice system.

“How many were charged with misconduct in a public office or sex crimes? If not, you need to give a proper explanation. Disciplinary proceedings are not a substitute for court proceedings, ”said Afzal, who was the crown’s chief prosecutor for North West England.

Among those who resigned was an off-duty special agent who was charged with raping women he met at a nightclub. Last week, Downing Street unveiled plans to protect women by putting plainclothes officers in nightclubs, a plan quickly ridiculed by activists with some asking who would protect women from undercover police.

Details of other cases indicate that the actions of some officers undermined the work of domestic violence advocates, individuals who support abuse survivors, stationed at the Met’s community security units.

One officer was charged with eroding trust by displaying “an arrogance towards female staff members and a willingness to take advantage of their position of trust to engage in unwanted physical contact.” You received a final written warning.

Several of the cases document cases of domestic abuse, with one officer fired after being arrested “on suspicion of rape, death threats and common assault” against his partner. Another, a special agent, “raped his wife numerous times during eight years of marriage” and was also fired.

Another incident involved an officer who was fired after allegedly sending shocking posts on the Kik messaging app. The summary of the initial complaints against him reveals that his messages included “comments that indicated that he wanted to rape the women in the image and that others would rape them. The images appear to be his daughter and his niece ”.

Leicester Magistrates Court



PC Oliver Banfield admitted to a charge of assault and battery and was sentenced in Leicester trial court on 19 March to a 14-week curfew. Photograph: Britpix / Alamy

Other allegations of sexual misconduct involved officers and children. A significant number of cases involved allegations of groping, lewd comments or uploading of obscene images, although an officer who had inappropriate images on his phone was also found to be acting as “an online sexual predator.”

Meanwhile, in the West Midlands, an off-duty police officer was convicted of assault and battery on Friday after pleading guilty to attacking a woman walking home alone.

PC Oliver Banfield, 25, avoided prison, but was instead given a curfew and ordered to pay his victim £ 500, prompting criticism from Labor MP Harriet Harman, who said that “the system fails women and protects men. “

The separate data confirm that sexual misconduct among officers is an ongoing problem. Figures from the Royal College of Policing’s current “banned list” (officers who have been fired from one force and are prohibited from joining another) show that nearly a fifth of crimes include abuse of position for sexual purposes, violence domestic violence or harassment against the public and colleagues.

Of the 555 officers excluded since the list was introduced in December 2017, more than 1,100 grounds for firing are listed, of which more than 200 involve sexual offenses, harassment or domestic abuse. Almost a quarter of the excluded officers served at the Met.

A statement from the metropolitan police said: “While the allegations involve a small percentage of staff, we recognize the impact that any offense will have on those involved and we will continue to take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously.

“It is clear that this type of conduct has no place within the organization. If standards are shown to have fallen below expectations, we take appropriate steps to ensure accountability and that lessons are learned from each case. “

He added that the incidents were investigated by his professional standards direction with referrals to the police watchdog when “appropriate.”


www.theguardian.com

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