The National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing has today released national figures for police perpetrated violence against women and girls.
The period 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 was considered:
- There were 524 complaints reported by the public, to 867 officers. 290 cases of those cases were resolved, with 9 in 10 ending in no further action.
- 672 police officers and other staff were reported by colleagues. 167 cases have currently been dealt with, 7 in 10 concluding in no further action.
The report notes that it wasn’t able to identify all cases, and this is the first step in a process of improving the response of the police to complaints.
It is also reported complaints, as with all reporting of wrongdoing, many cases will not be reported, for a variety of reasons.
Complaints considered showed:
- 63% of cases were about the use of force
- 9% overbearing or harassing behaviour
- 6% Sexual assault complaints
North Yorkshire Police overall receives two complaints per day. With around 4 per year going forward to an internal misconduct hearing.
North Yorkshire Police have said that they investigated 5 cases of Violence against Women and Girls from Police Officers, with 4 cases being identified internally, and 1 case being reported to them. The willingness to report wrongdoing is often governed by the confidence in the investigating process/ likely just outcome and confidence that there will not be personal repercussions in making a report
Response from North Yorkshire Police, and North Yorkshire Crime Commissioner
Deputy Chief Constable, Mabs Hussain
The statement from the DCC is very crafted, it starts with a truism, and then seeks to emphasize that there isn’t an institutional problem, and that everything is broadly fine.
He states that there is only 1 external report of a case of an officer perpetrating what is considered violence against women or girls, and that should give reassurance to the public.
You can of course take two points of view, one that the external complaints are very low, and that is good, confirms the system is working, and should give reassurance to the public. The other view is that the complaints are simply not being made to the police, as they don’t trust the outcome or fear personal repercussions.
Zoe Metcalfe, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire
Part of the role of a Crime Commissioner is to demonstrate that they are bringing a police to account. That isn’t the case here.
Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, National Police Chiefs’ Council Coordinator for Violence Against Women and Girls, said:
Our publication today reinforces the urgency and importance of our current mission to lift the stones and root abusers and corrupt individuals out of policing alongside delivering the long term, sustainable improvements to standards, vetting and misconduct processes we have promised.
A range of allegations are included such as use of force, sexual comments, overbearing behaviour and sexual assault and the numbers under investigation equate to 0.7 per cent of the workforce.
The vast majority of officers and staff are professional and committed but I know it is shocking to hear about any potential predators in policing and that this can further shake fragile trust.
It’s important to be clear, data released today is intended to be a critical baseline for assessing police performance over time. It presents a picture from over a year ago rather than today.
Over the past 18 months, Police Chiefs have focused on identifying wrongdoing in police ranks, strengthening misconduct investigations and toughening sanctions. My expectation is that the impact of those changes will be evident when we publish our next assessment – with more women having the confidence to report concerns, more investigations underway, more cases closed and more sanctions and dismissals.
North Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable, Mabs Hussain, said:
Our job is to protect people from violence and bring perpetrators to justice. We cannot possibly have, and do not want, anyone in our ranks that is a perpetrator of this behaviour. And I know I speak for the vast majority of the dedicated officers and staff of North Yorkshire Police who are equally concerned about such behaviour among their colleagues. It is vital that our communities have the utmost trust in the people tasked with protecting them.
The fact that four out of the five cases highlighted below have been uncovered through internal processes, and just one reported by a member of the public, should give an amount of reassurance that our internal processes are effective and underpin our belief that the majority of our workforce act with integrity and recognise unacceptable behaviour when it occurs. However, we are not complacent and know that more needs to be deal with these unacceptable behaviours and to ensure that we deserve the trust of the public. Five cases are five too many.
We have taken a number of measures to improve our already robust vetting process to root out those people who are not fit to serve. The force has recently led a national pilot scheme that checks all vetted staff against the Police National Database (PND) every month. This process was implemented to ensure that any police contact outside of North Yorkshire is brought to the attention of our Vetting Unit and Professional Standards Department. This covers both police officers and police staff. This scheme was recently highlighted by Government inspectors who recommended that all forces make use of the PND. It is now a national requirement for all forces to implement this scheme.
We are also one of the few forces that handle complaints independently through the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s office to provide an additional level of scrutiny.
The vast majority of our officers and staff are honest, hardworking and act with integrity. However, when misconduct is found, we will take action. We encourage anyone who has any concerns about the behaviour of an officer or staff member they have come into contact with, to please report it to us.
Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Zoe Metcalfe said:
Perpetrators do not belong in police services and as an advocate for tackling Violence Against Women and Girls, I stand by victims who have endured any kind of violence from someone who should keep them safe.
The national figures released today provide the public with some transparency around police perpetrated violence and the priority actions for all police forces to bring consistently high standards to the police response to violence against women and girls.
There is Zero tolerance for this behaviour in North Yorkshire, and I’m assured by the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable of improvements to an already robust vetting process. The Force were also one of the first to implement a scheme which checks all vetted staff against the Police National Database (PND) every month, and I’m proud to be one of the few Commissioners who manage police complaints within my Office, providing an additional level of scrutiny on behalf of the public.
Increasing public trust and confidence in police services is important to me and my partnership violence against women and girls strategy is already delivering on securing investment, developing partnership opportunities and offering bespoke Police staff training to ultimately ensure the right support is offered when victims report a crime.