SURREY Police insists there is no place in its ranks for those who would use violence against women.
It was responding to a report looking at how forces across the country deal with police perpetrators of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The report, published by the National Police Chiefs Council, collated cases from a six-month period as part of a commitment to report annually on how the police service is tackling abusers, sexism and misogyny within the system. It showed there were allegations reported against 1,539 police officers around the country, which is 0.7% of the workforce.
In Surrey, there were 11 conduct cases involving VAWG during the timeframe, with allegations ranging from the use of inappropriate language to controlling behaviour, assault, and domestic abuse. Of these, two remain ongoing but nine have concluded, with seven resulting in sanctions – four of which barred those individuals from working in policing again.
Surrey Police’s assistant chief constable Alison Barlow said: “There is absolutely no place for this kind of behaviour in policing and it needs to be stamped out. The recent cases we have seen nationally have clearly damaged the trust that people, particularly women and girls, have in us as a service and it is vital we focus on rebuilding that.
“We are taking positive action in Surrey and where there is evidence of misconduct or criminal acts, by officers or staff, we will seek the strongest possible outcome. But we also know cases are historically under-reported so we need to continue to work hard in order that both the public and our own employees have the confidence to challenge behaviour and report any concerns.
“We have a dedicated team of anti-corruption officers whose job it is to proactively interrogate behaviour, and this is an area we will continue to invest in, so our organisation is not considered as a safe place for perpetrators to operate.”
We know that survivors have struggled to feel safe in reporting domestic abuse when their partner is a serving police officer or member of police staff."
Michelle Blunsom, CEO of East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services
Surrey Police also dealt with 13 complaints from the public relating to VAWG during this period – 70% of which related to use of force on arrest or while in custody and general service. In eight cases the service was found to be acceptable, one case was resolved, two required no further action and two remain not determined.
Michelle Blunsom, CEO of East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services, has worked closely with the Force to advise on tackling domestic abuse. She said: “I know that Surrey Police is committed to having a zero tolerance to perpetrators of domestic abuse. We also know that survivors have struggled to feel safe in reporting domestic abuse when their partner is a serving police officer or member of police staff.
“The very nature of domestic abuse means that it often goes on behind closed doors and that perpetrators often have a public and private face.
“We welcome Surrey Police’s proactive approach in tackling this complex and difficult issue and will continue to work with them to ensure that the lived experiences of those affected are heard. We also want to reassure survivors that the specialist Outreach Services in Surrey are completely independent from police, and we want you to feel confident you can contact us if you are affected by these issues.”