Figures reveal allegations of sexual assault made against Suffolk police

Police are investigating

There were 14 sexual assault claims made against officers in Suffolk over the past four years

There were 14 sexual assault claims recorded against serving Suffolk police officers between 2016 and 2020, new figures have revealed. 

The statistics, obtained through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, showed the 14 claims related to 18 officers - of which 14 were men, one was a woman and three were unknown. 

In Norfolk, nine sexual assault claims against officers (seven men, two unknown) were made between 2016 and 2020. 

While in Cambridgeshire, there were 10 claims relating to 15 officers over the same timeframe (nine men, four women and two unknown). 

The figures come after an independent inquiry was announced by the home secretary and Essex MP Priti Patel to look into the "systematic failures" that allowed Sarah Everard's killer, Wayne Couzens, to be employed as a police officer.

Couzens, who received a whole-life tariff for the rape and murder of Ms Everard, used his warrant card to falsely arrest the 33-year-old marketing executive. 

Speaking today, Home Office minister Damian Hinds told Times Radio: "I think everybody is shaken by this terrible case.

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"It is also really important to take a moment once again to pay tribute to all the men and women who serve in our policing service who feel more let down than anybody by this terrible sequence of events.

"They put themselves in danger day after day and in protection of the rest of us and they deserve our support.

"It is actually more important even for them than for anyone else that this inquiry gets to the bottom of this."

Home Secretary Priti Patel said those who contravened restrictions needed to face the consequences. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Essex MP and home secretary Priti Patel - Credit: Archant

Speaking to this newspaper last month prior to Couzens' sentencing, and after a report by HMICFRS found that "fundamental cross-system change" was urgently needed "to tackle an epidemic of violence against women and girls", Superintendent Kerry Cutler said police could not tackle the issue alone

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Suffolk Constabulary take allegations of this nature very seriously given the nature of the role of those who work in the police in a trusted position.

"We have robust processes in place to deal with complaints and allegations made against officers and those in police roles.

"When a misconduct hearing takes place, this process is carried out by a panel made up of an independent, legally qualified chair, an independent member and a senior police officer who also provides guidance on any police-related matters.

"The chair, and the panel’s decision, is independent and based on the evidence given. Allegations involving an abuse of position for a sexual purpose, are referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct for investigation.

“It should be noted that each of the allegations is individual and would require further context to fully explain the outcome.

"For example, such cases would include allegations which are proved to be false, but are required to be recorded on the initial information provided.

"Suffolk is relatively small in terms of officer numbers, this means the percentage of sexual misconduct cases where officers are found guilty and remain in their role may seem high but the overall numbers per year are very low compared to larger forces.”

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