WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 18 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Devon and Cornwall Police accused of “protecting” officers accused of domestic abuse

Devon and Cornwall Police accused of “protecting” officers accused of domestic abuse

Allegations have been made Devon and Cornwall Police had failed to investigate reports of domestic abuse, including rape, physical and psychological abuse, involving both serving and former officers.

Seven women contend that the perpetrators are “protected” by the force, with investigators connected to the accused officers. It is also alleged that, following allegations, some of the accused officers were promoted to specialist roles dealing with violence against women.

One of the seven women is Paula Kressinger, who served in the Devon and Cornwall Police Force for three decades. She says she was put in a neck hold by her former partner, a retired police officer. When police intervened, she was called “pathetic”, treated as the offender and completely dismissed.

Kressinger waived her right to anonymity and expressed her disappointment to the Guardian. She said: “It defies belief. I was completely failed by them, disrespected and insulted. I lost confidence in the police as a result. It was a definite cover-up.”

Another woman was a mother of three and allege that her former partner, also a police officer, raped and physically controlled her during their marriage, and persistently stalked and harassed her after their separation. She was later informed by the specialist investigative unit responsible for her case that no charges would be brought.

A recent assessment by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary regarding the Force, recorded that “without exception, every female respondent interviewed in the cultural audit reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace.”

Assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Jim Pearce, said the force had made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Debaleena Dasgupta, of the Centre for Women’s Justice, represents the seven women. She told the BBC, ‘The women’s combined testimonies paint a picture of a force not just unable to investigate police-perpetrated domestic abuse, but seemingly unwilling to. These shortcomings demonstrate a failing system, and are so egregious, they breach the women’s human rights. It takes immense bravery to report a police officer to their own police force. For the victims to then be so badly failed is deplorable.”

“This case shows that sadly things have not changed [after the convictions of Wayne Couzens and David Carrick]. It is hard to see how public confidence will be restored in policing if this is not robustly addressed.”