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Revealed: Police Officer Misconduct Hits Record High with Quarter of Offences Being Sexual

There has been a surge in serious offences committed by police officers, reports Andrew Kersley

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Almost one in four of the reasons given for police officer dismissals for serious misconduct last year were for sexual offences, as the number of complaints over serious offences by officers hit a record high, Byline Times can reveal.

This month the College of Policing, a professional body for British police, published its annual ‘barred list’ – its list of police officers who have been dismissed for serious offences and are barred from rejoining the police.

Byline Times found that when you added together all the sexual offences listed as ‘categories for dismissal’ (including offences like abuse of position for sexual purpose, grooming and rape), it added up to 115 or 22% of all the reasons listed.

The number of reasons listed outnumbered the total number of barred officers (394) as they could be barred for multiple reasons.

The revelations reflect concerns over criminal officers that have been growing after several high profile officers have been arrested for similar crimes in recent years.

In 2021, serving Met police police officer, Wayne Couzens, used his police ID and handcuffs to kidnap, rape and murder 33-year-old Sarah Everard.

In February this year another serving Met officer, David Carrick, was jailed for life after he raped, assaulted and inflicted “irretrievable destruction” on at least a dozen women. In the end, he was convicted for 85 serious offences, including 48 rapes.

The figure for serving officers also represented a significantly higher share of cases than the equivalent for police community support officers.


Revealed: Police Regulator Investigating Fewer Than 1% of All Complaints

Shockingly few complaints are being properly investigated by either police forces or the independent regulator

A past investigation found that nearly dozens of officers in England and Wales have faced disciplinary action for inappropriate sexual relationships or sexual contact with victims, with some still remaining in the job afterwards.

The most recent ‘barred list’ figures also showed a huge spike in serious offences among officers. The 394 names added to the ‘barred list’ this year was a record high and a 32% spike on the year before – the biggest rise recorded at any point in the last five years.

Police campaigners previously told Byline Times that a failure to fully investigate almost nine in 10 complaints about police forces was risking a repeat of the Sarah Everard murder.

Police forces logged a record 81,142 complaints last year – some forces now are actually recording more complaint allegations than they have staff members.

But only a small minority are ever investigated by forces themselves – who are tasked with policing their own conduct. Just 0.5% of complaints are ever looked into by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which is referred only the most serious cases by police forces.

“Public trust is essential and forces across the country are committed to rooting out officers and police staff who damage that trust,” added the College of Policing’s chief superintendent Andy Walker.

“We have strengthened vetting; set high standards in recruitment; and continue to clamp down on unacceptable conduct so that the public can have confidence in the many hard-working, dedicated officers who come to work to keep them safe.”

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Chief constable Craig Guildford, National Police Chiefs’ Council misconduct lead, told Byline Times: “All police forces are continually rooting out abusers and corrupt individuals. That commitment is shared from chief constables through to our dedicated frontline.”

“Action is being taken and change is happening, but words from us are not enough. His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary wrote to the Home Secretary earlier this year to note “undoubted” progress across forces on vetting, misconduct, and counter corruption practices.

“They also singled out improvements in the way intelligence is proactively gathered on officers of concern and noted more cases of gross misconduct are being identified.

“This is not only thanks to the proactive work of our investigators but the professionalism amongst the vast majority of our employees to challenge and report wrong doing.”

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