Figures reveal how many Herts police officers suffered sexual harassment

Sexual harassment takes many forms, but is always unacceptable.

Sexual harassment takes many forms, but is always unacceptable. - Credit: fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus

New figures have revealed how many Herts police officers were victims of sexual harassment in the last five years.

A Freedom of Information request by this newspaper asked Hertfordshire Constabulary how many serving officers have reported sexual harassment from their colleagues in the past five years and how many of those complaints have resulted in disciplinary action.

Alleged sexual harassment includes physical contact, comments and messages of a sexual nature.

The force confirmed that there had been five cases identified within this period, and of these one resulted in no case to answer, two officers received management action, one officer was referred to reflective practice, and one was dismissed for harassing behaviour and other matters.

A Herts police spokesperson said: “Hertfordshire Constabulary requires the highest levels of integrity from our officers and staff and when someone fails to meet this standard, we take the appropriate action.

"If claims are made against our officers, a thorough investigation will be carried out by an independent force. We are also active in rooting out misconduct and the dismissal of some officers have been as a direct result of our own proactive investigations or from concerns raised by fellow officers and staff.

“The figures, in part, reflect our intolerance towards violence against women and girls and the confidence of victims to come forward. They also reflect sadly, what is happening in society as a whole.

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"The Professional Standards Department (PSD) prioritise sexual offence allegations against police officers. PSD, working in conjunction with the IOPC [Independent Office for Police Conduct], investigates officers where officer conduct has or is likely to have breached the standards of professional behaviour.”

Reflective practice is the ability to reflect on your actions and improve the way you work or deal with an issue. It is considered a key skill in practice-based professional learning. It would involve the support of a line manager or supervisor who would ensure that the individual is engaging with the issues and who would offer further advice/support hence the term management action. It would involve different things for each individual.