An investigation revealed this week that over half of Metropolitan police officers found guilty of sexual misconduct between 2016-2020 have remained in their roles.
These cases related to officers who had taken advantage of vulnerable victims and witnesses and had targeted colleagues too.
Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and publicly available data have shown that in 31 cases, 41% of officers retained their roles following disciplinary proceedings for sexual misconduct. This figure jumps to 52% for officers in the Metropolitan police force.
Other figures show that 89% of all allegations are made against male police officers.
The findings come in the year that serving Metropolitan police officer, Wayne Couzens, pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
Dame Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said in response to Couzens’ guilty plea: “on occasion, I have a bad ‘un”. However, we have vast amounts of data on top of this investigation to show that this isn’t an isolated occurrence.
Only one police force recorded the gender of officers and victims, obscuring the true extent of violence against women in these cases, but where a pronoun was used in a public hearing, all but one perpetrator found guilty of sexual misconduct were male police officers. The victims were largely women.
Suffolk and Norfolk police forces had the worst record with an atrocious figure of 70% of police officers found guilty of sexual misconduct keeping their position.
In 2018, one officer in the Norfolk constabulary kept their job after being found guilty of having sex on duty. A year later, a Suffolk police officer found guilty of sending inappropriate messages to a colleague also retained their job.
Other allegations involved inappropriate touching or comments towards victims and witnesses.
In the West Yorkshire constabulary, an officer found guilty of trying to pay for sex received a slap on the wrist with a written warning issued.
It’s important to note that these cases only relate to officers who have been found guilty, let alone instances where victims have not reported misconduct.
This data reflects the true position of police under capitalism – agents of capital tasked with punishing and repressing the working class, with women, ethnic minorities and other oppressed groups targeted in particular.
The use of sexual abuse is ideal for such tasks because it slots women into a gender role designed to exploit and oppress them through ideas such as the ‘inferiority’ of women.
One officer found guilty in Avon and Somerset told a colleague that he had “a really high sex drive” but to explain the institutionalised pattern of sexual misconduct in police forces, it would be far too simplistic to blame men’s sexual urges. Sexual misconduct is a tool of repression and domination used to subdue women, and as we’ve seen with the SpyCops inquiry, which demoralised women activists especially.
Sexual misconduct laws in this country protect the capitalist class and their lackeys – therefore what happens to mostly working class women in police environments is of little concern to police forces, hence the figures produced by FOI requests.
Such assaults are generally sanctioned by the media and politicians, who frame victims of such violence as deserving of it or even encouraging abusive behaviour because they’re ‘sexually deviant’ and promiscuous as a result of their class position and lifestyle choices.