'It’s sickening': Serving officer says she has 'no faith in police' after reporting male colleague for sexual assault 10 years ago

14 March 2023, 12:51 | Updated: 14 March 2023, 12:56

A serving police officer has told LBC she has ‘no confidence in the police’
A serving police officer has told LBC she has ‘no confidence in the police’. Picture: Alamy

By Fraser Knight

A serving police officer has told LBC she has 'no confidence in the police' after reporting a male colleague for sexual assault 10 years ago.

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Jane, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, has been serving in her force for 19 years and says her perpetrator was only given "words of advice" when she complained about the attack.

She told LBC: “We were crewed together. He’s about 15 years older than I am and during our deployment together he started to compliment me on my looks and my figure.

“He literally just started to touch me. He was rubbing my thighs, he was kissing my neck and started to whisper in my ear that he wanted to take things further. I just froze and couldn’t push him off me. I managed to whisper a sort of no that I didn’t want to kiss him on the lips.

“He continued to touch my inner thighs up quite high and it was very uncomfortable.

“I went to complain to my supervisors saying this is inappropriate, I can’t work with this man. Something needs to be done about it.”

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Jane said her complaint was never taken seriously and wasn’t reported as a crime until recently, when she re reported it to professional standards.

They’ve continued to work together for the past 10 years.

Figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council have shown for the first time the extent of complaints made against police officers and staff nationally.

During a six-month period between October 2021 and March 2022, 1,539 members of forces were subject to allegations, ranging from disproportionate use of force, to rape and sexual harassment.

In that time, fewer than 1% of those subject to a complaint were dismissed and more than 9 in 10 allegations from members of the public led to no further action being taken.

“It’s sickening. I am so angry and I have no faith in the police; I’m a police officer for god’s sake and I have no faith in the organisation I work for," Jane said.

“I think it’s just common sense - a crime has been committed - I have never ever given words of advice to someone who’s committed an offence. The victim wouldn’t be happy with that, just because he knew it was wrong.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is now recommending a change in the law to allow internal misconduct and complaints processes to be made tougher and to speed up the dismissal of officers and staff who shouldn’t be in a police uniform.

Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth is the organisation’s national lead for tackling violence against women and girls and told LBC: “The figures are very sobering and from my perspective reflect that we’re dealing with an epidemic.

“We need to make sure these investigations are dealt with really really quickly and come to conclusions with strong outcomes; we don’t want people working in policing that shouldn’t be there.”

LBC last week revealed that faith levels in the Metropolitan Police had dropped to less than half of the people it served.

And similar trends have been seen for forces across the country, who are now working to rebuilt trust among members of the public.

But victims of violence at the hands of officers say the complaints process requires a huge amount of reform.

Freya was abused, violently and sexually, during a 10-year relationship with a police officer and says she was left feeling suicidal after failing to get justice against her perpetrator.

She was part of a super complaint with the Centre for Women’s Justice about the police handling of her complaint.

She said: “I’ve been pushed out in front of a car when I was five months pregnant, I’ve been raped and I’ve never been able to get any justice. I felt like the police’s priority was to protect the organisation instead of me.”

“I don’t think I’ll get over it. I want to be able to trust the police, but I can’t. Every time I think there might be a bridge built, it gets destroyed by another officer.

“Every time I see a police car, I have a panic attack.”

National Police Lead for Violence Against Women and Girls DCC Maggie Blyth
National Police Lead for Violence Against Women and Girls DCC Maggie Blyth. Picture: Youtube/NPCC

Freya has since set up a website called Police Me Too for other women to share their own experiences of abuse at the hands of the police, after reporting she herself felt alone and isolated.

In less than two years, it has seen more than 100 accounts shared, ranging from inappropriate comments to the most serious sexual assaults.

And speaking to LBC about the figures collected by the NPCC, Freya said: “When something goes wrong with the police, members of the public question, ‘who do I report it to, because what is the point?’

“So a lot of things are not actually being reported and those 1,500 complaints that have been made are going to be a very small proportion of complaints that should’ve been made but aren’t because of fear.

“And the fact so few of those have had action taken against them makes me feel sick, for me it just raises the instant question of why?"

DCC Blyth revealed the NPCC had made recommendations to the Home Office a number of weeks ago and is waiting for a response.

She also said the figures collected from police forces across England and Wales will be updated every year and used a marker of progress being made to root out criminals from the police ranks.

There will also be a national violence against women and girls threat assessment made later this year, after the government included it in the Strategic Policing Requirement, meaning VAWG is treated as seriously as terrorism or child sexual offences.

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