Sexual assault allegations against Staffordshire Police officers revealed

Almost a dozen allegations of sexual assault were made against serving officers in a county force over five years, figures reveal.

Police sexual assault figures have been revealed by forces across the country
Police sexual assault figures have been revealed by forces across the country

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show 11 sexual assault claims were made against Staffordshire Police officers between 2016 and 2020.

One of the allegations led to a dismissal, one with a written warning and another with management action.

In seven cases complaints were not upheld or had "no case to answer" and one case was withdrawn. Responses from 33 forces across the country show more than 700 allegations were made against officers over the period, with at least 34 resulting in dismissals.

The majority of the complaints involved male officers. West Midlands Police and West Mercia Police did not provide any data, with both forces saying doing so would exceed "appropriate" financial cost limits.

It comes after Boris Johnson said there was “a massive job” to be done in restoring women’s confidence in police after the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: "Staffordshire Police takes any complaints against our officers and staff very seriously.

"The public rightly expect police officers and staff to maintain exemplary standards of integrity and professionalism and any officer or member of police staff suspected of a criminal offence will be thoroughly investigated.

"All evidence is carefully and objectively reviewed by the Professional Standards Department both from a criminal and misconduct perspective and, if appropriate, referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

"The force is working alongside colleagues nationally to ensure our professional standards and vetting procedures are robust and that we are implementing any learning and recommendations from recent events."

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, which includes groups like Rape Crisis, Refuge and Women's Aid, has called for a "radical overhaul" of how the police respond to violence against women.

"This means greater accountability and urgent, coordinated and strategic action to address violence against women," said deputy director Denzi Uğur.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched an independent inquiry into the "systematic failures" by police following the murder of Ms Everard.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Home Secretary is determined to do everything in her power to deliver improvements within policing and across the criminal justice system.

“The inquiry will look into wider issues across policing – including vetting practices, professional standards and discipline, and workplace behaviour.

“As the public would rightly expect, we take police integrity very seriously and have already taken steps to overhaul the police complaints and discipline systems."

The inquiry has been welcomed by the National Police Chief's Council chairman, Martin Hewitt, who said vetting and professional standards procedures needed to be scrutinised to restore public confidence.

"I think having an independent inquiry is a very good way for that to be to be dealt with to really help us provide that reassurance," he added.

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