Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The same problems everywhere

It looks like the UK has a problem with police rapists as well:

Sexual predators in the police are abusing their power to target victims of crime they are supposed to be helping, as well as fellow officers and female staff, the Guardian can reveal.

An investigation into the scale and extent of the problem suggests sexual misconduct could be more widespread than previously believed.

The situation raises questions about the efficacy of the police complaints system, the police's internal whistleblowing procedures, the vetting of officers and a failure to monitor disciplinary offences.

Police officers have been convicted or disciplined for a range of offences from rape and sexual assault to misconduct in public office relating to inappropriate sexual behaviour with vulnerable women they have met on duty. Others are awaiting trial for alleged offences, though many are never charged with a criminal offence and are dealt with via internal disciplinary procedures.

The problem is to a large extent hidden, as no official statistics are kept and few details are released about internal disciplinary action in such cases.

And the contributing factors look awfully similar to those in New Zealand: a culture of sexism, a refusal to take complaints seriously, failure to monitor officers subject to repeated complaints, and a police force which puts preserving its own reputation ahead of justice. Together, these let abusive police officers get away with crimes which should see them in jail.

The UK's Independent Police Complaints Commission and Association of Chief Police Officers are carrying out a joint inquiry onto the scale of the problem. it will be interesting to see whether it leads to justice, and whether it will result in changes in the UK's police culture.