UK Police: ‘Sex on duty was seen as a perk of the job’

Former Nottingham Police chief says he would have to drive a marked car around in circles while her colleague – nicknamed ‘Pervert’ – would visit the house of a woman he met on the job.

Screenshot: Priti Patel announces inquiry into Sarah Everard murder

13 September 2021 | Lamiat Sabin | The Independent

A former chief constable has said that some of her male colleagues considered it to be a job “perk” to have sex on duty.

Former Nottingham Police chief Sue Fish revealed that she had a senior colleague that was arrested and jailed for having sex with a “vulnerable” woman during his shift.

She said she would be left, as a young probationary officer, driving a marked car around in circles while her older colleague – nicknamed ‘Pervert’ – would visit the house of a woman he met on the job.

Ms Fish, who retired from the force in 2017, told The Times: “It’s fair to say sex on duty was seen by some of my colleagues – not all by a long chalk – as being a perk of the job.”

She felt she could not report being sexually assaulted by a senior officer when she was a junior, in case she would not be believed, and that her male colleagues made comments about her body – she said.

Her interview with the newspaper came days after police officer Wayne Couzens was jailed for a whole-life term for his brutal attack on a woman walking home from her friend’s house earlier this year.

Ms Fish said that his crimes have “shattered” women’s trust in the police.

In March, Couzens used Covid pandemic emergency police powers to arrest Sarah Everard, 33, in south London, before kidnapping, raping, and murdering her. He then burned her body in woodlands in Kent.

Couzens was a Metropolitan Police serving officer at the time.

At a previous force he worked in, he was known by some as “the rapist” because he made women feel uncomfortable and his colleagues knew he watched rape pornography.

After his sentencing at the Old Bailey, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor said the 48-year-old father-of-two’s nickname was known by some officers.

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Couzens was also accused of several incidences of indecent exposure, including in the days before Ms Everard’s abduction.

Six years ago, he was investigated after being accused by a member of the public of driving naked from the waist down.

At the time, he was working as an officer with the Kent-based Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). Kent Police investigated the claim but decided no further action should be taken.

The CNC said it was not informed of any allegations against Couzens, who joined Met Police in 2018, where he again had armed responsibilities as part of the parliamentary and diplomatic protection team.

When Couzens was sentenced, his wife said that she had “noticed nothing wrong” with him before and after the rape and murder, and that she “as puzzled as everyone else” as to what led him to carry out his pre-meditated crimes.

The “systematic failures” that allowed Couzens to continue to be a police officer will be examined in a public inquiry, the government announced.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said that people “have a right to know” why he remained in the Met despite his behaviour.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, she said: “We need answers as to why this was allowed to happen.

“We can confirm today there will be an inquiry, to give the independent oversight needed, to ensure something like this can never happen again.”

The inquiry will initially be non-statutory “given the need to provide assurance as swiftly as possible”, the Home Office said, adding it could be converted to one if required.

A statutory inquiry has the legal power to compel witnesses to give evidence, provide legal safeguards, and limit the government’s control over how it operates.

Earlier, PM Minister Boris Johnson told BBC Breakfast that he did not support calls to make misogyny a hate crime.

He said that there is “abundant” existing legislation to tackle violence against women and girls, and that recruiting and promoting more female officers would help change the misogynistic culture within police forces.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who has rejected calls to resign, confirmed on Monday there would be an independent review into the force’s standards and culture.


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