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8 October 2021 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

HJ Talks About Abuse: Byline Intelligence Team Research into Police Officers Sexual Misconduct

*TRIGGER WARNING*: In this blog we discuss issues of sexual abuse, rape and murder.

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In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, the abuse team discuss an investigation by the Byline Intelligence Team into police officers sexual misconduct.

The investigation was conducted by making multiple freedom of information requests and by using publicly available data in relation to police officers. It comes in response to the devastating case of Ms Sarah Everard, who was murdered by a serving MET police officer in March 2021.

The aim of the investigation was to address the accountability and wider failings of the police force in tackling male violence against women and girls. Particularly, after the failure of the MET police to dismiss Mr Couzens until after his guilty plea in July 2021, four months after Ms Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by him.

In response to Couzens’ guilty plea, the MET police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, said “on occasion, I have a bad ‘un”. This suggests that it is incredibly unusual for police officers to be involved in any sexual misconduct, however, the investigation suggests otherwise.

The investigations key conclusions included:

  • In 31 misconduct hearings, between 2017 and 2020
    • 41% of MET police officers who were subject to disciplinary proceedings for sexual misconduct retained their roles following the decision.
    • 52% of MET police officers who were found to have committed sexual misconduct stayed in their posts.
  • Of MET police officers accused of sexual offences, 89% were male.
  • Of Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies, 70% of officers found to have committed sexual misconduct stayed in their posts.
  • In West Yorkshire, much of the sexual misconduct (44%) was found to have been committed against female colleagues who were also police officers.

These figures are shocking when you consider the role of a police officer; undoubtedly one of power and that is meant to promote public trust and confidence. This research seems to suggest that the disciplinary process is too lenient on its officers accused of sexual misconduct.

However, the difficulty with the research is that it is of a small subject area and is gathered from various sources (freedom of information requests from each department and publicly available data). Therefore, it lacks detail regarding who the allegations are made by, what the allegations are (including the level of severity), and the reasons why the police officers were (or weren’t as the case may be) kept in post.

We hope that the UK police force acknowledges this report and identifies that the first step is to improve their own internal reporting and transparency.

If there is far better record keeping of the various police departments, which is transparent and can be reported on, then this in turn would result in research being appropriately gathered and patterns of failings being identified. Ultimately then changes can be identified to improve this situation.


More Than Half of Met Police Officers Found Guilty of Sexual Misconduct Kept their Jobs – Byline Times

We encourage anyone who has comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, to get in touch with Alan Collins at [email protected]

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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