Police face super-complaint over officers’ DA
Lawyers from the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) are preparing to lodge a super-complaint against police forces in England and Wales for their handling of domestic abuse allegations against officers.
The potential legal action follows a Bureau of Investigative Journalism investigation showing police employees are less likely to be convicted of offences related to domestic abuse or violence than members of the public.
The bureau found that of nearly 700 reports of police-perpetrated domestic abuse over three years, fewer than a quarter had ended in professional disciplinary action.
Women spoken to by the bureau said they felt their abusive police officer partners had used their positions to further intimidate and harass them. While some had been too afraid to ever report their abuse, those who did said the forces employing their perpetrators did not take their allegations seriously.
The CWJ says it will formally submit the super-complaint in the coming weeks, requesting an institutional investigation into practices and systemic problems at forces across the UK.
A super-complaint is a legal device brought in last year to help groups challenge endemic problems in policing.
After submission, the challenge will be reviewed by the College of Policing, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services
“All allegations of domestic abuse should be treated seriously, irrespective of who the perpetrator is. Criminal allegations against police officers should be treated in the same way as those against members of the public,” the IPOC was quoted as saying by ITV News.
The super-complaint will suggest, according to the bureau, that police leaders need to make better provisions in their procedures to mitigate for the unique potential intimidation police domestic abusers can wield and the lack of confidence felt by their victims when their accused abusers work with those investigating their behaviour.
The CWJ will also propose investigations into domestic abuse by police service employees should be dealt with outside the constabulary concerned and a clear separation between the investigators and parties involved.