Everard is not the first woman to be murdered by a British policeman. And preachers fear she won’t be the last.
At least 16 women have been murdered by serving or retired police officers in the UK in the past 13 years female slaughter census
, a group that collects data on women killed by men, and campaigners feel that tackling gender-based violence is not a police priority.
Hundreds of allegations of gender-based violence are made every year by police officers. As of 2019, approximately 700 domestic abuse charges were filed against police officers and employees from April 2015-2017 investigative journalism investigation bureau
. It also found that domestic abuse at the hands of the police is treated differently in court, with only 3.9% of domestic abuse allegations among police in England and Wales ending in conviction compared to 6.2% among the general population. .
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As deadly intimate partner violence is usually the culmination of years of abuse and coercive control, there is an urgent need to reform the criminal justice system, activists say. And it needs to start from the ground up.
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor and director of the Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ), told Granthshala that there is a “boys’ locker room type culture within policing, which means that often, officers are loyal to their fellow colleagues and above all. Undertake. Proper investigation – and that women are afraid to report to the police. And if they do, sometimes they are the victims.”
The CWJ filed “super complaint
The UK Police Watchdog, in 2019, highlighted the hardships of nearly 150 domestic abuse survivors in trying to navigate the road to justice. This August, the Independent Office for Police Conduct published its findings, saying That the criminal justice system is failing to act effectively in response to domestic abuse—despite the government’s claim that it is a priority. (The Domestic Violence Act, which was passed this spring, is a statutory definition of domestic abuse. Creates and establishes the role of Domestic Abuse Commissioner.)
Since the complaint was filed, more women have come forward with allegations of domestic violence by police, Wistrich said, alleging that there are deep concerns about gender-based violence in the force.
Speaking outside the courthouse, where Couzens was sentenced on Thursday to a rare life sentence, Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick—who in June dismissed Couzens as a isolated “bad ‘un,”
— said she was horrified that she had used a “position of trust to deceive and coerce Sarah”.
Dick apologized on behalf of the Met and admitted that trust in the police had been “shaken.” He said
As commissioner that he “will do everything in my power to ensure that we learn a lesson.”
Six years earlier, as an officer of the Kent Police Force, Couzens was charged with indecent exposure. Three days before Everard’s murder, he was accused of exposing himself to a fast food restaurant in south London.
An investigation has been opened in February into alleged failures by the Met to investigate two charges against Kuzens. one more test
It is investigating allegations that five serving officers and a former officer shared grossly objectionable material with Couzens on a WhatsApp group in 2019. And a separate investigation was also opened into allegations that an officer participating in Everard’s search shared an inappropriate graphic depicting the violence. Against women in WhatsApp group with colleagues at the time of disappearance.
Inappropriate behavior in force is nothing new. Two Met police officers, after the brutal murder of sisters Nicole Smallman and Biba Henry in London in June 2020 took selfie next to his body
And shared them on WhatsApp. Six other officials failed to report it.
Wistrich said there is no room for police officers with “question marks” over their past conduct in the force.
the weather said in a statement
that Couzens was investigated when he joined and that he had “no criminal convictions or warnings”, but that: “The vetting is a snapshot in time and, unfortunately, cannot be a 100% guarantee of an individual’s integrity.” can.”
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But it also has a history of promoting sexual misconduct.
As Coozens was sentenced on Thursday, a landmark decision by the Investigative Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled that the Met had violated the human rights of an environmental activist because she was deceived into a prolonged sexual relationship by an undercover officer. had gone. It said there was probably a “lack of interest in protecting women” from violations of human rights and privacy of senior officials.
The IPT’s decision focused on other documented abuses of power in force.
From March 2017-2019, 415 referrals were made to officers who abused their position to sexually assault victims of domestic and sexual violence, sex workers and drug users, to be abused by an on-duty police officer. had the highest risk. a 2018 His Excellency the Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services Report
According to data released by One, around 500 Met Police officers were accused of sexual misconduct from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2020. freedom of information request
. Out of 493 complaints, 148 resulted in investigation.
Violence against women in force “is not an isolated incident”, says Wistrich.
“It’s something that’s too rotten within the system that has to be rooted out.”
On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the failure of the police to take violence against women and girls seriously enough in an interview with The Times as “outrageous”.
“Are the police taking this issue seriously? It’s furious. I think the public thinks they’re not wrong and they’re not wrong,” Johnson said.
“It’s an issue of how we handle sexual violence, domestic violence, sensitivity, diligence, timing, delay… that’s something we need to fix,” he said. Compress the time between complaints being filed by women and the point at which action is taken.
Rape allegations continue to rise, but as of October 2020 there has been a marked decline in cases filed by the Crown Prosecution Service Victims Commissioner’s report
, which said that police had 55,000 rape reports in 2019-20, but registered only 1,867 cases. Also, the proportion of survivors who chose to withdraw their case is increasing (from 25% in 2015-16 to 41% in 2019-20).
And the government’s current strategy doesn’t fill many women’s rights activists with hope. The government has separated domestic violence from their new strategy against women and girls, a move that many say
Recalls the important point that women’s experiences of violence and abuse are intertwined.
In response to the criticisms of the Met made in this article, a spokesperson told Granthshala in a statement: “There are several broad points here – the views of most critics and commentators, and we are not prepared to knock anyone back. Criticisms what they want to do.”
disconnect and consent
Since Couzens’ sentencing, high-ranking police have been on a media blitz to signal that they understand that trust has been broken with the public, adding that they will take steps to regain it. She has also outlined the measures she believes women should take to feel safe.
The Met said in a statement on Friday that women contacted by police officers alone have the right to verify that the officer detaining them is legitimate.
But that didn’t stop the Couzens from “arresting” Everard. He was not disguised as a police officer, he was a weather police officer – with an officially issued warrant card in hand.
The statement also said that if a woman has doubts about the legality of an arrest, they would recommend “running into a house, knocking on a door, waving a bus” or calling the police.
Activists argue that police guidance is tone deaf, places the responsibility on women to avoid crimes against them, and diverts attention from the real problem: how to best identify and stamp predators into their ranks. .
A member of Sisters Uncut, a direct-action feminist group that led the Everard Vigilance in March, called the advice “ridiculous.”
Miri, who asked Granthshala to be identified by her first name for security, said the Met’s “advice reflects the contrast between the management of the police and the day-to-day experiences of those who are supposedly serve.”
She continued: “I think the focus of this advice is that it makes it appear as though Coozens was a police scoundrel, when in reality we know he was very much part of the institution’s product.”
Activists also argue that crucially, such advice fails to take into account the concerns of people of color and minority backgrounds, who disproportionately stopped by the authorities
compared to their white counterparts. They also say that it is capable, the police have not considered the rights of people with disabilities.
The Met’s new guidance comes as the UK Home Secretary has called for radical changes in policing. On Thursday, Priti Patel said that “we all want to feel safe and be safe.”
Patel is also backing a bill that would give more powers to the police, including stricter detention and search powers.
For months, thousands have demonstrated against Police, Crime, Punishment and Courts Bill
– which is currently making its way through Parliament. The details of Everard’s murder may increase that resistance.
“There is a kind of myth in this country of consent policing, that the police are able to use force on us because they have the public’s trust because we agree to it,” Miri said: “Sarah’s case In Reed (a victim of police brutality who died in prison) it used to beat us; in Sarah Everard’s case, it used to kill us.
“We do not agree to use force against us in the name of our security,” she said.