PSNI officer dismissed for sexual misconduct after police chiefs say they will have zero tolerance approach in wake of Sarah Everard murder

The PSNI has dismissed one officer for sexual misconduct and seen six more facing the same charge resign - adding that the murder of Sarah Everard has placed “a spotlight on violence and intimidation against women and girls”.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:50 pm
Sarah Everard was kidnapped raped and murdered by serving Met office Wayne Couzens in London. Photo: PA Wire

Ms Everard was murdered by serving Met Office Wayne Couzens in London in March, with his conviction causing many questions about how he was able to continue serving as an officer despite a string of alleged sexual offences.

A PSNI spokeswoman told the News Letter today that one PSNI officer has been dismissed for sexual misconduct and that further six officers under investigation have resigned. A further six cases are still ongoing.

The dismissal and resignation have all taken place since the PSNI last released figures of action against service officers, under the Freedom of Information Act, which account for sexual misconduct up until the year 2020/21.

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For the five years up until this period, police previously revealed that four officers had internal complaints relating to sexual misconduct upheld and that two officers were dismissed for sexual misconduct. A total of 39 officers were subject to internal investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct over the five years in question.

The figures relate to complaints complaints of sexual misconduct - including sexual harassment, exploitation of crime victims and child abuse - made against PSNI officers, special constables and police community support officers. Commenting on the latest dismissal and resignations, Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally, Head of the Public Protection Branch, said: “The tragic death of Sarah Everard has firmly placed a spotlight on violence and intimidation against women and girls for all. This is a priority for the Police Service, and we are working with partners to provide a whole systems approach to combating this in our communities, currently leading on the creation of the first PSNI VIAWG [Violence Against Women and Girls] strategy for Northern Ireland.”

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton added: “We are committed to continuously reviewing and improving our approach to investigations which are regularly scrutinised at a senior level. These investigations are, where appropriate, led by the Police Ombudsman.” He added that independent, confidential reporting phones lines are available for both members of the public and police service colleagues to raise any concerns.

The PSNI previously disclosed that during the five years to 2020/21 a total of 39 officers were subject to internal investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct. The PSNI broke the figure down for each year;-

2016/17 – 4 officers

2017/18 – 5 officers

2018/19 – 7 officers

2019/20 – 13 officers

2020/21 – 10 officers

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