Multiple Avon and Somerset Constabulary employees still working despite domestic abuse accusations
Multiple employees are still working at Avon and Somerset Constabulary despite being accused of domestic abuse, figures reveal.
The statistics, obtained in an investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and ITV, reveal over 1,300 police officers and staff across the UK were reported for domestic abuse between January 2018 and September last year.
They included five in Avon and Somerset Constabulary – and two of them were still in a job with the force towards the end of last year, when the freedom of information requests were sent out.
Of those reported for domestic abuse, one was disciplined, one convicted of domestic abuse and none removed from their roles.
Freedom of information requests received from 41 UK police forces reveal that 1,080 (82%) of 1,319 police officers and staff who were reported for alleged domestic abuse were still working at police forces.
Just 36 (3%) had been dismissed, while 203 either resigned, retired or left for other reasons.
TBIJ's data only records accusations of domestic abuse reported to the police.
Ruth Davison, the CEO of Refuge, said: “I can’t overstate how serious this is. Domestic abuse is fundamentally about power and control, the abuse of power.
"And police officers do have power — they’re supposed to use that for our benefit to uphold the law and to keep us safe.”
Disciplinary actions, which can include written warnings or suspension, were taken against 120 officers and staff (9%), but just 45 reports (3%) led to convictions.
David Tucker, head of crime at the College of Policing, said: “Allegations of domestic abuse by an officer must be treated with the utmost seriousness.
"The charging and conviction rates for all domestic abuse is a matter of great concern.”
The data comes just a month after a watchdog report into a London police station found officers exchanging WhatsApp messages that included rape threats and jokes about abusing their partners.
Almost 400 accusations of domestic abuse were aimed at officers and staff at the Metropolitan Police, with 336 (84%) remaining in their post.
Across the UK, only one police force which responded to the FOI had no staff members reported during this period.
A spokeswoman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “Figures such as these will cause concern to victims and we want to assure you that policing is working hard to root out those who display misogynistic characteristics.
"Everyone must call out inappropriate behaviour when they see it and the support systems must be in place for those who report domestic abuse and other crimes which disproportionately affect women.”