May 27, 2022
Devon Rape Crisis & The Women’s Centre Cornwall have written to Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez asking for assurances that misogyny and sexism will be rooted out of the D&C police for good.
4th November 2022
Dear Alison Hernandez,
You will no doubt have read the report this week that highlighted a culture of ‘misogyny, sexism and predatory behaviour’ in the police, towards female officers as well as staff and members of the public.
A report that revealed police forces have accepted into their ranks officers who had already been charged with domestic abuse and sexual violence.
This comes in the same week that figures from Devon and Cornwall police reveal a 19% rise in the number of rapes and sexual offences reported to police across the peninsula in the year ended September 2022. Yet of those 2,566 reported offences only 1-2% will lead to a charge. Even fewer will lead to a conviction – a historic low which is a travesty for victims.
And more than four in ten rape victims will drop out of the criminal justice system during the process because it is too difficult and takes far too long.
We at Devon Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Services and The Women’s Centre Cornwall are very concerned about the deep cultural problem that exists within the police. If serving officers exhibit sexism and predatory behaviour, how can a woman who has been the victim of sexual violence have any confidence in the police? How can the public trust the police to respond to rape and sexual offences appropriately?
I am writing to you on behalf of all the women we support at our centres, who will have been deeply upset to hear about this report in the media. Women who have trusted the police with the most intimate and personal details when reporting a crime of sexual violence. Many of whom will have already felt let down by the police and criminal justice system.
Please can you tell us what you are doing to root out misogyny and sexism in Devon and Cornwall police? And can you assure us that all police vetting will be reviewed and any officer whose behaviour has caused or is causing concern is withdrawn from any role that involves contact with victims of crime?
Caroline Voaden Jackie May
Chief Executive Chief Executive
Devon Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Services Women’s Centre Cornwall