Sexual assault claims against Derbyshire police officers revealed

More than a dozen allegations of sexual assault were made against serving police officers in Derbyshire over five years, figures reveal.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 4:08 pm

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there is “a massive job” to be done in restoring women’s confidence in police after the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show 15 sexual assault claims were made against Derbyshire Constabulary officers between 2016 and 2020.

Most were against male officers (13), while in two cases the sex of the officer was recorded as unknown.

The data from Derbyshire Constabulary was in response to a request for the number of complaints of sexual assaults against serving police officers.

Three of the claims resulted in dismissals.

Meanwhile, in five they were not upheld, in four there was "no case to answer" and in one it was deemed that “acceptable service” had been provided by the officer.

A further two claims were withdrawn or discontinued.

The data does not specify if the officers were on or off duty at the time the alleged incidents occurred.

The sex of the person making the accusation was also unknown in each case.

Responding to the findings today, Derbyshire Police’s Supt Richard Lambert said officers who abused their positions had “a hugely damaging impact on the trust and confidence in the police”.

Supt Lambert, head of professional standards on the force, said: “We take a proactive approach to dealing with this, treating every allegation with the seriousness it deserves, which is reflected in the number of investigations that are carried out.

"However our position is absolutely clear - one case is one too many. Police officers are in a position of trust and there is no place in our organisation for people who abuse their position or act in such a way.

“We are working really hard to build trust and confidence in our communities.

"The knowledge of the fear that Wayne Couzens has put into the minds of many women and the impact of his actions has and will continue to raise important questions about women’s safety.

"We now need to take steps to make sure women and girls feel safe as their go about their lives and this is echoed in our commitment to tackling violence against women and girls.”

Responses from 33 police forces across Great Britain revealed that most claims over five years related to male officers, where their sex was recorded.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, which includes groups like Rape Crisis, Refuge and Women's Aid, said few officers face "any meaningful consequences" for violence against women and girls nationally.

The organisation said the murder of Ms Everard took place within a broader context of violence perpetrated by the police, adding that trust in forces from women and girls was now at an all-time low.

Deputy director Denzi Uğur said: "We need to see a radical overhaul of how the police respond to violence against women – especially within their own ranks.

"This means greater accountability and urgent, coordinated and strategic action to address violence against women.

"Ultimately, we need to address these widespread institutional failings before we can even begin to address women’s confidence in the police."

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