Last week (14th October 2022) the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and College of Policing published a review of themes, learnings and recommendations on police-perpetrated violence against women and girls.
This review forms part of the national police framework to improve the response to violence against women and girls. Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, the NPCC lead on violence against women and girls (VAWG), stated her concerns around the inconsistency of approach across police forces, and emphasised that forces must act urgently and robustly to reports of police-perpetrated VAWG.
Some of the key findings from the report include:
- Victims of police-perpetrated VAWG (in this case police officers who are victims) require bespoke support services to address their specific needs.
- Police forces must continue to encourage police officers and staff, members of the public and partners to report concerns about police-perpetrated VAWG or any other inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour.
- Investigators working on parallel criminal and misconduct investigations need to work together and share information effectively.
- Some misconduct investigations may be unnecessarily delayed because forces do not accurately assess the potential for disciplinary action to prejudice criminal proceedings.
- Data collected locally about police misconduct is not recorded in a detailed and consistent manner, making it more difficult to provide accurate and timely insight into police-perpetrated VAWG.
- Inviting external scrutiny of case handling may improve trust and confidence, support a learning culture and ensure appropriate decision-making.
It is clear from this report that there is a huge amount of confidence-building to undertake in police forces across the country.
At Rape Crisis England & Wales we hope that this NPCC report functions as a tool to ensure far better responses to police-perpetrated violence against women and girls.
Jayne Butler, CEO at Rape Crisis England and Wales states:
“It is vitally important that all police, whose job it is to enforce the law, are not complicit in committing crimes against women and girls. It is crucial still that when police officers do perpetrate sexual violence and abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls, that they are held accountable for their actions. We believe there needs to be initial vetting around tolerance of sexism, misogyny and VAWG to ensure that violent and abusive men are not recruited into the police. We also need to see regular and mandatory training on sexism and misogyny for everyone working within police forces, and it must be frequent, in-depth, and provided by specialists in the violence against women and girls sector.”