'I can't trust police forces' to handle complaints from women and girls, former chief says

ITV Central Correspondent Peter Bearne interviews the former Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police who says British policing needs to get an urgent grip on misogyny amongst its own

The ex-chief of Nottinghamshire Police has told ITV News Central she "cannot trust British police" and their approach in dealing with reports from women and girls.

Speaking to ITV News Correspondent Peter Bearne, Sue Fish said: "I had a fantastic career in policing but at the moment I can't trust the British Police service in relation to their approach to women and girls, if they go and report something that has happened to them."

Under Ms Fish's leadership, Nottinghamshire Police became the first force in the country to treat misogyny as a hate crime.

However, since stepping down, Ms Fish said at least 50 female officers across the country have contacted her about the behaviour of their male colleagues. 

It's 'horrifying' the way some male officers treat female colleagues, Sue Fish tells ITV News Central

In the last six months, Ms Fish said the officers reported sexist and even criminal behaviour of their male colleagues.

Some talked of domestic abuse at the hands of a partner who was also in the police. One even reported an officer sexually abusing her child.

Ms Fish said she has heard: "Sexualised bullying, misogynistic bullying. Leering. Grading women out of ten.

"Discussing their breasts. I could go on and on and on."

It follows national outcry over the murder and rape of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer, with actions of forces up and down the country under increased scrutiny.

Earlier this month, a man appeared in court accused of the "premeditated and predatory" murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, who had set out on a five-minute journey to meet a friend but never arrived.

Other recent murders of women in public spaces include the killings of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.

The former Nottingham police chief also told ITV News many of her colleagues have reportedly quit the force as a result.

"The impact that that has on those women is absolutely dreadful," she said.

"But I've heard it over and over and over again. From so many women from so many forces."

Impact of policemen's actions and words has had on women is 'absolutely dreadful', ex-police chief says

Ms Fish has previously revealed she was herself indecently assaulted by male colleagues on two occasions.

What she has been hearing now from other female officers convinces her the situation today is no better - and in fact, probably worse.

A spokesperson for the National Police Chief's Council has told ITV News: "It’s down to everyone in policing to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, and to report any colleagues who fall short of those standards.

"All forces have a dedicated team which investigates complaints against officers."

They added: "These teams work to strict guidelines, run confidential reporting phone lines for both the public and colleagues to raise concerns and are regularly independently inspected.

"People rightly expect the police service to act with honesty and integrity and any instance of conduct falling below that standard, or when a crime has been committed, will be dealt with directly based upon the evidence presented as nobody is above the law."