Following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer, the then Home Secretary commissioned the Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a thematic inspection to assess current vetting and counter-corruption arrangements in policing across England and Wales, including an assessment of forces’ abilities to detect and deal with misogynistic and predatory behaviour. The subsequent report is based on an analysis of vetting clearance files, interviews and more than 11,000 responses to a survey.
The report stated that the majority of police officers and staff meet – and often exceed – the standards of behaviour the public expect. However, an examination of police misconduct-related matters in the years prior to Sarah Everard’s murder points to some systemic failings, missed opportunities, and a generally inadequate approach to the setting and maintenance of standards. It found a culture of ‘misogyny, sexism and predatory behaviour’, with too many of the ‘wrong people’ able to join, poor behaviour towards women ‘prevalent in many – if not all – forces’ and that chief constables needed to be ‘less complacent’. Examples included officers able to join the police after withholding information or giving false details, and of some forces hiring applicants with criminal convictions for robbery, indecent exposure and domestic assault. There were forty-three recommendations for changes by forces before April 2023. To read the report, go to https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publication-html/an-inspection-of-vetting-misconduct-and-misogyny-in-the-police-service/.
Also relevant here is the Independent Culture Review of London Fire Brigade by Nazir Afzal, which described the London Fire Brigade as having a toxic culture of bullying, misogyny and racism. Read this report at