‘Sex on duty was a perk of the job’

11th October, 2021 2:45 pm

Sex on duty was seen as ‘a perk of the job’ by officers, a former police chief has claimed.

Sue Fish, the ex-chief of Nottinghamshire Police, said women’s trust in law enforcement has been ‘shattered’ by recent events, including the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens.

Having slammed Dame Cressida Dick for a lack of action in tackling misogyny in the capital’s force last week, she has now lifted the lid on her experience of sexism during her time with police.

Ms Fish told the Times‘ Helen Rumbelow how married women were not wanted in the force because they would soon leave to have children, and also shed light on her own experience of being sexually assaulted at work by a more senior officer.

She also revealed how she would be left, as a young probationary officer, driving a marked car around in circles while an older colleague would sleep with a vulnerable woman he’d met doing the job.

‘It’s fair to say sex on duty was seen by some of my colleagues — not all by a long chalk — as being a perk of the job,’ she said.

‘It left me as a brand-new probationer feeling like I didn’t know who to talk to about it, because saying to the concerned man, ‘Don’t do this to me. Don’t do this to her, just don’t do this at all’, made no difference.’

One Nottingham officer, who was eventually arrested and jailed for having sex with a vulnerable woman, had been nicknamed ‘Pervert’ by colleagues, she revealed.

Ms Fish also revealed how she would be given a see-through female uniform blouse, and be subjected to constant comments on the state of her breasts.

Ms Fish made headlines last week when she claimed it had taken the death of a white woman for the issue of trust in policing to be addressed.

She admitted that every woman she knows would have got into the car with Couzens – the Met Police firearms officer who used his warrant card to kidnap Ms Everard – and then raped and murdered her, adding that the Met’s new safety guidelines have ‘absolutely no insight whatsoever’.

Scotland Yard bosses are believed to remain sceptical about recording misogyny as a hate crime despite the majority of other chief constables backing the move.

Some senior officers are said to think the reform – drafted in March after Ms Everard’s death – is not needed because present legislation is adequate.

However, Ms Fish recalled memories of the sexism she experienced as a young officer, when she was almost always the only woman on a shift made up of around 20 male colleagues.

She was also refused lucrative overtime shifts and only given a tiny, ineffective truncheon compared to the ones used by her male counterparts.

Calling for a change of attitude, she said: ‘If you are convicted of drunk driving as a police officer, there is virtually no chance you will keep your job.

‘The police service ought to be as crystal clear about racism, sexism, homophobia.’

Ms Fish claimed she felt ‘deeply ashamed’ when she was assaulted at work, shortly after being promoted to inspector, thinking that she must have done something wrong.

However, she barely thought after reporting the culprit because he was ‘much loved and respected’ and she felt she would be more damaged by the process.

The former police chief also highlighted how some officers would look to take advantage of their power over the population.

‘For someone — and they are absolutely the minority — who is attracted to power, and power to facilitate the less savoury or deviant aspects of their personality, or simply criminal conduct, the opportunity is there,’ she admitted.

Her comments come as the Prime Minister today outlined his plan to make women and young girls feel safer across the UK.

Boris Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘You’ve got to make the streets safer. We’re putting more police out on the streets and we’ve recruited about 10,000 of the 20,000 that I promised at the election.

‘We are putting (in) more CCTV, better street lighting. But what you’ve got to do is address the underlying frustration of millions of women, and millions of people across the country, at the slowness of the criminal justice system and the inadequacy of the cruel justice system in dealing with crimes of rape and domestic violence and sexual violence.’

When asked by presenter Nick Robinson whether it is time to put ‘more money’ into justice, Mr Johnson said: ‘We’re putting money into every part of the UK public services and the problem is not just a question of money, but what we’re putting money in.

‘The problem is not just to do with money, it’s to do with the way we handle the evidence, and as you know the difficulties that are presented by mobile phones, in particular when the defence is able to seize upon this or that piece of data and use it in court, and that’s very complex, but it is no excuse for the delays and the frustration that women are experiencing, and we need to fix it.’

The Met announced earlier that an additional 650 officers will be put in place across the capital, with 500 officers being based permanently in busy neighbourhoods and 150 joining London wards as ‘Bobbies on the beat’.

The force said the addition of the new officers – a combination of new staff as part of the Government’s national recruitment drive and redeployed personnel – was part of a drive to cut down on violent crime, including domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.

The town centre teams will be made up of one inspector, two sergeants and 21 police constables.

Once in place, the local police leaders will be able to increase the size of their teams if needed.

The first tranche of officers will be in place by late 2021 and all 19 teams are expected to be in place by spring 2022.

They will be located in boroughs and towns across London, from Hounslow, west London, to Barking and Dagenham, east London.

Source: Daily Mail

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