Disturbing figures confirm that criminal charges against officers have ‘skyrocketed’ by 590% since 2012, with one in 100 officers in England and Wales facing criminal investigation in the last year alone.
The Observer has found that the Police Federation, the staff association for police constables, sergeants, and inspectors, has received 1,387 claims for legal support for their officers facing criminal charges in 2022. The Police Federation support officers facing misconduct spanning from offensive messaging to more impactful offences such as sexual offences.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services further reports that of the 668 volunteers who responded to their survey, 42 volunteers reported alleged criminal offences. Female officers and staff reported their experience in the workplace and social events, including unwarranted sexual comments by male officers, such as comments about vulnerable sex workers who were the victims of crime.
Concerns have previously been expressed regarding the leadership shown by senior officers who are said to have been covering up occurrences of misconduct towards female officers and staff, where it has been warned that ‘hundreds if not thousands’ of officers are surpassing the vetting system despite their concerning behaviour and history.
Data observing the troubling statistics of officers criminal charges follows the controversial cases of Wayne Couzens and David Carrick, which rocked the confidence of the public towards police conduct.
David Carrick, a Met firearms officer who also guarded parliament, admitted to 71 sex offences over 20 years, being labelled as one of ‘Britain’s worst serial rapists’.
Carrick using his powerful status as an officer would gain the trust of his victims by displaying his warrant card and telling them ‘I’m a police officer, you can trust me’. After his heinous acts, he would tell the women that no one would believe them as he was an officer and that his word would weigh stronger than his victim’s statements.
The Met Police acknowledged their failures in dealing with Carrick’s abusive behaviour over nine incidents including allegations of rape, domestic violence, and harassment between 2000 to 2021.
In response to such failures in police officer dismissal and investigations, the Home Office is introducing a review of police standards and culture, to introduce a ‘fair but robust disciplinary system’ to ensure public confidence.