Police officers who are violent to women will now be sacked – but why weren't they before?

·3 min read
Photo credit: andrewmedina - Getty Images
Photo credit: andrewmedina - Getty Images

Police officers who are violent towards women and girls will now be sacked under new guidelines.

It comes after the College of Policing (CoP) reviewed the current penalties for breaching police standards with the aim to "bring common sense and consistency" to the process. The CoP's investigation concluded that violence against women and girls by police officers will always have a "high degree of culpability", but noted that behaviour will still be considered on a case by case basis. And it's this consideration that the new guidelines will target – ensuring that a consistent approach is taken when assessing if an officer should remain in service.

Officers found guilty of having been violent towards women – and therefore in breach police standards – should be dismissed and barred from the force, the CoP said.

But, whilst the move seems to be a step in the right direction when it comes towards tackling misogyny within the police force, it has left many people – myself included – wondering why this hasn't always been the case?

"Police officers who are violent towards women or girls can expect to be sacked. THE PUBLIC NEEDS AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHAT IS HAPPENING UP TILL NOW," author Gurpal Virdi tweeted. "Foolishly assumed this would already be the case," someone else wrote in response to the announcement, with a third person chiming into the conversation with: "Really begs the question what the fuck was happening before?"

"How is this new guidance? How is this a new policy? They really thought it was OK until now?!" said social justice campaigner, Dr Katy Layton-Jones. "Jesus... is this new guidance?! You mean it wouldn’t have been a sackable offence before?" questioned another disgruntled social media user, as someone else added: "It's disgusting that this wasn't standard procedure before."

In recent months, the CoP – who are there to set police standards and provide training – has been working towards tightening its guidance following a string of cases where police officers were violent towards women. The most notable case, of course, was the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard in 2021 – a serving Metropolitan Police officer was found guilty of the crime and handed a whole-life sentence.

Photo credit: Guy Smallman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Guy Smallman - Getty Images

"I have spoken before about my frustration at having to re-admit officers to my workforce who I thought should have been shown the door," Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the CoP's chief executive, said.

"In many cases, the guidance wasn't clear enough that legally-qualified chairs should be considering the impact an incident may have on wider public confidence, as well as the specific incident itself," he added.

"Today's updated guidance is very clear that the undermining of public confidence caused by an officer's wrongdoing, or just the risk that it could be undermined, should be central to the decision-making."

Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to the College of Policing for comment.

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