Legislation needed to tackle police perpetrated abuse, says Commissioner

Part I of the Angiolini Inquiry, published last month, looked at the circumstances and failures that led to the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer in 2021. Today the government has announced that it has accepted all the government-led recommendations made by Part I of the inquiry.

The government accepted recommendations include conducting a review into the way masturbatory indecent exposure is treated within the criminal justice system, to commission research to establish if there is an evidence-based link between active masturbatory indecent exposure and subsequent contact offending, and to launch a public campaign raising awareness that indecent exposure and sending unsolicited photographs of genitals amounts to criminality.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing has at the same time committed to addressing the remaining recommendations in Lady Angiolini’s report concerning police culture and increasing the robustness of police vetting.

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, says, “Lady Elish Angiolini’s findings were seriously damning. Police recruitment, vetting and investigation of allegations against officers clearly fall far below the very basic expectations.

“It is absolutely right that government and policing leaders have accepted Lady Angiolini’s recommendations in full. I want to see all agencies taking swift action to implement these changes.

“But there is an opportunity right in front of government to go further and strengthen these powers through legislation. The criminal justice bill must not be passed without robust measures to tackle police perpetrators.

“Forces should be required through the Bill to hold mandatory, extensive and regular vetting, and changes must be introduced to ensure police under investigation for violence against women and girls cannot use their powers to cause further harm.

“The inquiry was clear that another Couzens could be hiding in plain sight. The time for serious transformation is now.”

Read the Home Office announcement here.