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Today (14 March) a report published by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) looked at how forces across the country tackle police perpetrators of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
It collated cases from a six-month period as part of a commitment to report annually on how the police service is working to root out abusers, sexism and misogyny.
In Surrey, during the timeframe, there were 11 conduct cases involving VAWG with allegations ranging from the use of inappropriate language to controlling behaviour, assault, and domestic abuse. Of these, two remain ongoing but nine have concluded with seven (77%) resulting in sanctions – almost half of which barred those individuals from working in policing again.
T/Assistant Chief Constable Alison Barlow said: “There is absolutely no place for this kind of behaviour in policing and it needs to be stamped out. The recent cases we have seen nationally have clearly damaged the trust that people, particularly women and girls, have in us as a service and it is vital we focus on rebuilding that.
“We are taking positive action in Surrey and where there is evidence of misconduct or criminal acts, by officers or staff, we will seek the strongest possible outcome. But we also know cases are historically under-reported so we need to continue to work hard in order that both the public and our own employees have the confidence to challenge behaviour and report any concerns.
“In 2020, we launched our Force Commitments which clearly set out the high standards and ethical behaviour we expect from everyone working in Surrey Police. In the same year we ran an internal campaign ‘Not in My Force’ lifting the lid on, and starting the conversation about sexism and misogyny within the workplace.
“We also have a dedicated team of anti-corruption officers whose job it is to proactively interrogate behaviour, and this is an area we will continue to invest in, so our organisation is not considered as a safe place for perpetrators to operate.”
Surrey Police also dealt with 13 complaints relating to VAWG during this period – 70 percent of which related to use of force on arrest or whilst in custody and general service. In eight cases the service was found to be acceptable, one case was resolved, two required no further action and two remain not determined.
Michelle Blunsom, CEO of East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services, has worked closely with the Force to advise on tackling domestic abuse. She said: “I know that Surrey Police is committed to having a zero tolerance to perpetrators of domestic abuse. We also know that survivors have struggled to feel safe in reporting domestic abuse when their partner is a serving police officer or member of police staff.
“The very nature of domestic abuse means that it often goes on behind closed doors and that perpetrators often have a public and private face.
“We welcome Surrey Police’s proactive approach in tackling this complex and difficult issue and will continue to work with them to ensure that the lived experiences of those affected are heard. We also want to reassure survivors that the specialist Outreach Services in Surrey are completely independent from police, and we want you to feel confident you can contact us if you are affected by these issues.”
|Final Written Warning||1|
|Case to Answer - resigned during investigation and added to police barred list||2|
|Case to Answer - referred to proceedings (resigned under investigation and added to police barred list)||1|
|Reflective Practice Review Process - Practice Requiring Improvement||2|
|No case to answer||2|
|No Further Action||2|