Dozens of UK police officers disciplined over sexual offenses
The prosecution comes after a string of revelations of significant wrongdoing within the UK police targeting both crime victims and witnesses.
Since 2018, around 80 police officers in 22 forces throughout England and Wales have faced disciplinary action for inappropriate sexual relationships or sexual contact with victims, witnesses, or suspects, as per The Observer.
According to the data received through the request of information laws, the majority of persons facing disciplinary action were fired or resigned before being fired. Yet, ten cops stayed in their positions and received lesser punishments, such as written warnings, suspension, or management action. At least two faced criminal proceedings. Almost all of the offenders were men, and all but two of the victims were women.
These "truly shocking figures" could be the tip of the iceberg, according to Jemima Olchawski, CEO of the Fawcett Society, a women's rights nonprofit. "However, considering that they only represent half of the police forces in England and Wales, it's likely that many more women have been harassed or abused by serving police officers," she said.
The findings come at a time when police are under greater scrutiny for complaints of inappropriate behavior and sexual abuse, with the Metropolitan Police Service, in particular, facing multiple allegations.
The Metropolitan Police ("the Met") in London, which has been rocked by scandals in recent years, was thrown into further disarray after David Carrick, 48, admitted to carrying out 24 counts of rape while serving as a police officer while his colleagues missed opportunities to stop him.
The prosecution coincides with a string of revelations of significant wrongdoing within the force, Britain's largest, with over 43,000 officers and personnel responsible for leading the country's response to terrorism and issues like extradition.
Avon and Somerset police recorded the most disciplinary events among the 22 forces that submitted statistics on disciplinary action. Following disciplinary proceedings for inappropriate sexual contact, seven policemen were fired and one received a final written warning. Five more cops resigned or retired before they could be fired.
Meanwhile, eight officers from West Yorkshire Police were penalized for inappropriate sexual contact or interactions with women, including five victims, two witnesses, and one suspect.
They were all fired or resigned before they could be fired. "It is vital for the public to know that where conduct falls below the high standards anticipated by the force, they will be dealt with," said chief superintendent Nicola Bryar. The force affirmed that a misconduct hearing will be held even if an officer has quit.
#Britain's police watchdog has called for an explanation for the rampant misogyny and "disgraceful" behavior after a newly published report cited widespread bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination. pic.twitter.com/VzlZT86Ci0— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) February 7, 2022
And the list goes on. One male police officer penalized in West Mercia for inappropriate sexual contact with a female crime victim received a written warning, while a second male police officer facing disciplinary action received a final written warning. The force reprimanded six officers in total, including one criminal consequence. "These outcomes indicate that we can and do take action against officers who use their authority to abuse vulnerable members of the public," said Deputy Chief Constable Alex Murray.