Sir Stephen House denies allegations that he made inappropriate comments to a Home Office adviser in January 2022, where he described the bulk of the rape complaints as “regretful sex.” The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) are investigating the matter. Sir Stephen House and Met Police have been informed.
Mel Palmer, the IOPC’s regional director, has commented that ‘the allegation that these comments were made by a very senior police officer is of significant public concern, which may impact on public confidence in policing, and so it is important that they are subject to an independent investigation.’
The allegations came to light following a Channel 4 news investigation where Professor Besty Stanko, an adviser appointed by the Home Office, claimed Sir Stephen House made inappropriate comments after a meeting with other officers at Scotland Yard. Sir Stephen House was acting deputy commissioner of Met Police at the time.
Professor Betsy Stank also runs Operation Soteria, a report on the way police responds to rape cases. The report has concluded that some officers did not believe victims. She has further claimed the ‘it felt as if he was trying to minimise what the problem was, not taking it seriously.’
Sir Stephen House has responded to the Channel 4 investigation stating that he did not use the phrase “regretful sex” and that the phrase itself is “abhorrent”. He has since resigned as a police officer and is currently employed by the Met as a civilian employee.
The comments made by Sir House have caused many to doubt the police. Current Met police deputy commissioner, Dame Lynne Owens has said that ‘we recognise that they risk further undermining the confidence of victims to come forward and that is deeply regrettable.’