Hiring female police officers doesn't help because they can be misogynistic too, says women's rights activist

2 November 2022, 20:22

Women's rights activist Patsy Stevenson talks about internalised misogyny

By Daisy Stephens

Hiring female police officers does not help tackle sexism in the police because they can also be misogynistic, women's rights activist Patsy Stevenson has told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr.

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It was revealed in a damning report on Wednesday that thousands of police officers in the UK could be corrupt, including those with a history of sexual assault and misogynistic behaviour.

Ms Stevenson - who was famously pictured being arrested at the vigil for Sarah Everard - said police forces were just trying to deflect blame, after the boss of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Steve Hartshorn, told LBC progress was being made, including by hiring more female officers.

"All I can hear is a lot of deflecting," said Ms Stevenson when Andrew asked her what she thought of the interview.

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"Hiring women officers does not do anything.

"There were women officers at the vigil.

"I can tell you now, it doesn't matter whether you're a woman or a man in the force.

"And what does that mean - so, if they're racist we hire more black officers? It doesn't add up.

"You should just hire officers who are going to protect."

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She added: "Women can have internalised misogyny.

"Women can be misogynistic themselves and usually if they don't go along with their colleagues they can be abused for it."

Woman's rights activist says: 'The police force is appealing to those who want to abuse that power.'

She also pointed out that previous head of the Metropolitan Police was a woman, but the issue of misogyny in the police force prevailed.

"We had Cressida Dick at the top, it does not mean that she's going to help that misogynistic issue," she said.

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"She was a woman and she absolutely failed at her job.

"I'm glad she's out but we still have this remaining issue."

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Ms Stevenson also said the police force attracts those who want to abuse their power.

"Misogyny is rife within the force - we know this now," she said.

"The police force is very appealing to those who want to abuse that power, who have a ticket to say 'I can do whatever I want'.

"It's that warrant card - they're able to abuse it... and then they can perpetuate violence against women and girls however they like."

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She also said the way joining police forces is advertised may appeal to a certain kind of person who might not feel accepted elsewhere.

"If you got an ad for going into the police it's seen as a family," she said.

"If you're cast out from somewhere or you don't have many friends... it's very appealing to say 'you've now got a uniform, you've got a warrant card, you can do whatever you like.

"And that's what's happened."