Hundreds of sexual harassment claims against male police officers

Hundreds of people have claimed they were sexually harassed by male police officers in the past six years, prompting calls from senior officers for outdated and unacceptable behaviour to be “rooted out”.

Yet a fraction of the cases led to dismissal, with a number of cases simply resulting in an officer resigning or retiring.

The true number of harassment grievances was likely to be even higher as only 28 out of 43 police forces provided data, with many – including the Metropolitan police – claiming they were unable to supply information or had failed to respond within the time limit.

One female police officer, speaking anonymously, said: “Most female police officers have had an experience of sexual harassment. We are talking about a whole spectrum of issues, from inappropriate comments or sexism. It’s a problem that won’t go away from this field of work and I am not sure why that is.”

Prof Jennifer Brown, from the Mannheim centre for criminology at the London School of Economics, who led Unison’s research in this area, described it as a “hidden problem” in the police force.

Brown said research suggested sexual harassment tended to be more of an issue in uniformed services, such as the police. “It’s partly because of the gender ratio, more men in the working environment and sexual politics, so the idea that women are encroaching into areas that men have a monopoly over.”
[category global, sexual harassment]

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