Sexist nicknames have no place in police forces, says Police Fed chair

Police forces are told to call time on sexist canteen ‘banter’ by federation chief in the wake of Sarah Everard murder

  • John Apter, national head of Police Federation, said the culture needs to change
  • He said murder of Sarah Everard had impacted public’s relationship with police
  • Police officers must demonstrate that sexism has no place in policing, he added

Police need to call time on elements of canteen culture where ‘sexist nicknames and derogatory remarks are made’, the National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said.

John Apter, head of the organisation which represents more than 130,000 officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector, wrote in the Sunday Times of the need for culture change in the wake of the Sarah Everard murder.

Wayne Couzens, who was a serving Metropolitan police officer, was handed a whole-life tariff in September after kidnapping, raping and murdering the 33-year-old Ms Everard.

Mr Apter said the ‘horrific’ murder had impacted the public’s relationship with the police, writing: ‘It’s not enough to just say that this was the action of one evil man who deserves to rot in jail.’

John Apter, head of the Police Federation said there is a need for culture change in the wake of the Sarah Everard murder which he says impacted the public’s relationship with the police


Wayne Couzens (pictured left) was a serving Met police officer when he carried out the kidnapping, raping and murdering Ms Everard. Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (right) faced calls to resign after it was revealed Couzens was known as the Rapist at other forces

He added: ‘Misogyny is not just a problem for women, it’s a problem for us all. Far too often there is silence when this takes place, and through this inaction we are failing each other and wider society.

‘We need to consign to the history books some of our canteen culture where sexist nicknames and derogatory remarks are made.

‘When banter crosses the line to become sexist, derogatory or homophobic, that’s when it ceases to be banter.’

Officers must demonstrate through their words and their actions that sexism has no place in policing, he added.

Last week, the police watchdog revealed five police officers from four forces are facing disciplinary action over messages shared on social media about Sarah Everard’s killer.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said a Metropolitan Police constable on probation was investigated over allegations they used WhatsApp ‘to share with colleagues an inappropriate graphic, depicting violence against women’ while off-duty.

Wayne Couzens, who was a serving police officer at the time, was jailed for the rest of his life for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard earlier this year (pictured)

Another PC still on probation had a case to answer for ‘allegedly sharing the graphic and failing to challenge it’ and will also be subject to a misconduct meeting.

Last week it was revealed Wayne Couzens joined the Metropolitan Police at a time when a third of officers were not properly vetted.

Couzens was a serving Met police officer when he kidnapped, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard and has since been jailed for the rest of his life.

Speaking to the Commons home affairs committee Sir Tom Winsor said that that 37 per cent of the Met’s staff in 2018-19 did not have up-to-date security vetting.

The Chief Inspector of Constabulary told the committee that he believed Couzens joined the Met at this time, in September 2018, according to the Telegraph. 

The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that 33 per cent of officers, 72 per cent of police community support officers and 45 per cent of staff had also not been properly vetted.

In total, 14,616 members of the Met weren’t checked properly during that period.

In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick resisted calls to resign after it was revealed Couzens was known as the Rapist at other forces and had a reputation for ‘drug abuse and extreme pornography’. 

Sir Tom said he was ‘quite confident’ police will take vetting more seriously after the crimes committed by Couzens, after it emerged he had previously been accused of sex offences that were not properly investigated.

‘I think the Couzens case, horrific as it is, of course, will have intensified the determination of the police to ensure that another Couzens doesn’t get in,’ Sir Tom said. 

Source: Read Full Article