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The Elephant In The Room

Last updated on October 13th, 2023 at 08:16 pm

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I wish to start by saying that if you want to accuse me of some kind of ism you may as well stop reading now.  This is a tricky topic and I will do my very best not to be any sort of ist.  As we have discussed previously, Policing is not perfect and to me this is part of the imperfection. The Elephant In The Room gets totally ignored.

I don’t think there can be a single person who is in any way familiar with Policing that is not familiar with the recent, horrific acts carried out by two serving Metropolitan Police Officers.  I’m not going to feed their egos by naming them, but one of them committed offences of Murder, Rape and Indecent Exposure and the other was a serial rapist.  They are now both where they deserve to be, in prison, and I doubt they are having a very good time of it.

However, that is not the only facet of the current problems facing Policing that troubles me, and, unusually for me, I will attempt to go to places that the current Senior Management of all Police Forces seems unwilling, or scared, to go.  So hold on tight.

You may, or may not have noticed over the past year or so, that there have been a larger than ‘normal’ number of Police Officers prosecuted and losing their jobs for a variety of offences of Indecency.  It is merely my impression that there are disproportionate number of officers being prosecuted and sacked for sexual offences etc.

I use the word disproportionately deliberately, because it is said that Policing has a disproportionate number of white Police Officers, so you would expect, statistically, that the majority of offenders would be white. Wouldn’t you?Ethnicity

Have no fear, the Home Office loves a good set of statistics.  The answers will be here somewhere.

The stats for year ending March 2023 have not been published yet, next month I think, but if there is indeed a pattern it should be evident in the previous year.  The answers should all be in the data tables referred to in the above report.

Well, you would think so.  There are 38 separate data tables in that download.  The answers must be in there somewhere. You would think.

Not unreasonably the Home Office have separated Discipline matters from Criminal.  The picture relating to Discipline is quite clear.

The Elephant In The Room

It should be noted that Ethnic Origins are not shown separately.

Additionally the Home Office also broke down the data by Gender

The Elephant In The Room

Quite astoundingly they even break down Complaints and Discipline into Age Bands.

The Elephant In The Room

Finally, they helpfully include a breakdown of the type of allegations that the IOPC investigated in that 12 month period

The elephant in the room

So we can see that the 129,110 Police Officers in England and Wales attracted a total of 4,329 disciplinary investigations in the above, serious, categories.  That is slightly less than 3.5% of the total officers.  It can be seen that 117 of the allegations relate to Sexual Misconduct, which this post is predominatly about, equates to 2.7% of the allegations investigated and 0.1% of the total number of Police Officers in England and Wales.  In fact, approx two thirds of those 4,329 allegations had No Case To Answer, so the above percentages become even smaller.

The Elephant In The Room

I would certainly never attempt to trivialise the isssue of Sexual Misconduct, but at 0.1% I would suggest that you really CAN trust a Police Officer.  Sexual Misconduct of any kind is far from acceptable and has no place in Policing, but the chances of you suffering at the hands of a ‘rogue’ Police Officer really is remote.

Moving on to Criminal Matters.

Astoundingly, given the complexity of the Disciplinary data, there is almost none available for Criminal Matters.  This is what the ever helpful Home Office has to say about it.

Crime 1
Crime 1

Totally lacking in any form of detail, but for the Criminal Offences that WERE captured;

The Elephant In The Room

In my humble opinion this is a really damning indictment of the Home Office.  They produce stats for just about anything, but Police Officers committing crime? “These are our figures but you can’t rely on them”.  Of course they could tell us what the offences charged were.  Of course they could break down the numbers for Gender, Ethnicity and Age, at the very minimum the way they did for Discipline, but they seemingly choose not to.

Which brings me back to the Elephant In The Room.  It would seem that I can’t possibly confirm or disprove my original impressions, because the Home Office may, or may not, collect that data but they certainly don’t publish it.  All I can suggest that you have a rummage around t’interweb with your favourite Search Engine and see if you can identify which type of elephant I’m referring to.

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2 thoughts on “The Elephant In The Room”

  1. Alan,
    I note that the rank of the officers involved is not shown. In my old county I know we had all the Federated ranks, plus two chief superintendents jailed for dishonesty, a chief inspector (after retiring jailed for fraud) and an ACC convicted, not jailed for losing classified information. Apart from that ACC how many holding ACPO / NPCC rank have been disciplined, let alone charged with criminal matters? Again a recollection, now a few years ago, a high proportion of NPCC ranks were subject to IOPC investigations.
    Possibly a small “elephant in the room”.

    1. Hi David, I take your points, but having checked the source document, no mention of individual ranks is present. and as for criminal prosecutions, the Home Office themselves admit that their data is flawed (non-existent).

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