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Report reveals extent of VAWG in police forces

A total of 1,177 cases against officers or staff members of police forces in England and Wales were flagged as relating to violence against women and girls (VAWG), a pioneering study has shown.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing analysed data from all forces, including British Transport Police, in the six months to March 2022 to provide a baseline for ongoing work tackling allegations of police-perpetrated abuse and addressing sexism and misogyny within policing.

The results show 524 public complaint cases against 867 individuals and 653 conduct cases against 672 individuals were recorded.

Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, the NPCC’s co-ordinator for VAWG, said: “The numbers under investigation equate to 0.7% of the workforce. The vast majority of officers and staff are professional and committed but I know it is shocking to hear about any potential predators in policing and that this can further shake fragile trust.”

A complaint is defined as any expression of dissatisfaction with a police force by a member of the public; a conduct case involves an allegation a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings.

Of the public complaints, 63% related to use of force, 9% to overbearing or harassing behaviour and 6% to sexual assault. In conduct cases, discreditable conduct accounted for 48% of the total, sexual assault 19% and sexual harassment 13%.

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