Four Suffolk police officers avoided dismissal despite having sexual complaints upheld against them

Martlesham Police Investigation Centre. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Martlesham Police Investigation Centre. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Four police officers in Suffolk kept their jobs despite upheld sexual complaints made against them by colleagues, it can be revealed.

Complaints of sexual harassment or sexual assault were lodged against six serving Suffolk Constabulary police officers by a colleague at the force between May 2012 and May 2015.

Of these, four complaints were upheld, and none of the cases resulted in the officer or member of staff being dismissed, data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows.

Margarida Santos Silva, chair of trustees at Suffolk Rape Crisis said: “We are always extremely concerned about cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, not least when the perpetrators are police officers.

“We stress the absolute importance of education at all levels and the need for police officers as much as anyone to view people as having ultimate agency over their own bodies: individuals have a right to bodily autonomy, integrity, and dignity.

“We expect Suffolk Constabulary and its individual officers to set an example for the rest of the community in not perpetuating rape culture.

“We have concerns regarding this outcome as reported in this FOI and would welcome details of how Suffolk Constabulary respond to this.

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“We would like to know how they justify this outcome and what measures they intend to take to insure that their officers are well trained and do not pose a risk to others.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “Suffolk Constabulary takes any complaints against our officers and staff very seriously and all evidence is carefully and objectively reviewed by the Professional Standards Department both from a criminal and misconduct perspective.

“Where there is an indication that an officer or member of staff may have committed a criminal act, evidence is presented to the Crown Prosecution Service to seek advice as to whether any further criminal action should be pursued.

“It’s important to acknowledge that many cases don’t reach the criminal threshold and do not always necessarily warrant dismissal.

“Each case is treated on its own merits with lower level inappropriate behaviour being dealt with proportionately, and in all cases we will always look to take in to account the wishes of the complainant.

“The Constabulary is committed to ensuring that all officers and staff behave appropriately and have invested in training to ensure the Code of Ethics is embedded in the organisation at all levels.”

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