Serving police woman raped by officer says vetting process 'doesn't go far enough'

  • Serving police officer 'Catherine' has spoken to ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan about her experience as the National Police Chief's Council releases data from its integrity screening project.

A serving police officer who was a victim of sexual assault by a fellow officer says a new mass screening project to identify officers, staff and volunteers who are corrupt - won't change anything and more needs to be done to identify patterns of behaviour.

The woman, who we're calling 'Catherine' as she wants to remain anonymous, got in touch following an ITV Meridian investigation in December, which uncovered hundreds of allegations of sexual assault against police officers in our region.

Today, (Tuesday 23 January) the National Police Chief's Council released figures as part of its data wash project - unearthing 461 cases classed as serious enough to need assessing by a senior officer.

Catherine spoke exclusively to ITV Meridian ahead of the publication, about her experience and her fears for other female police workers.

"Within the police, it needs to be more about patterns of behaviour," she said.

"I don't see how vetting or anything like that is going to change anything, because these people haven't been convicted.

"They may have been accused of an offence, but without conviction, or even a charge, there's nothing, that's it, it's not happened.

"It should be more about patterns of behaviour if people have got a long history of being suspected of the same sort of offence."

  • 'Catherine says she still wants to encourage people to report incidents to police.

Catherine says she was raped by a specialist officer in our region, who she met online.

She claims he posted pictures of himself in uniform on his dating profile so Catherine believed he was safe.

“We had consensual sex to start with, which I think is how he planned it," she said.

"But then I started to feel really drowsy and unwell and I went to bed and then I woke up basically with him strangling me and having sex with me.”

Catherine said even though it wasn't consensual, she was reluctant to report what happened to police.

She added: "I’d messaged friends and told family members what happened straight away, but I was reluctant to tell police because I was worried how it would impact my career.

"I also know how you’re treated as a victim, you’re blamed, you’re expected to act a certain way and if you don’t then you’re not telling the truth.

"I went there willingly, I had consensual sex so who’s going to believe me.”

Catherine told police what happened three days later.

Her attacker was arrested and released without charge, due to insufficient evidence.

When she appealed, a detective chief inspector said her delay in reporting was one of the major weaknesses in her case.

Catherine admits she joined the police because she enjoys helping people, but believes there is still what she describes as 'a boys club'.

"I think in the police right now, you need to be a certain sort of person, everyone's the same, and if you're slightly different or don't conform exactly how everyone does, then you're not really part of it," she said. 

"About three years ago I was basically part of a team and I was the only female and all the others were male.

"That was pretty horrific because I was completely singled out and made to feel that I was not very good at my job, stupid."

Catherine says despite believing being a police officer is a really good career, her own experience has marred what advice she would give to others.

"I would actually probably advise someone not to join now, if I'm honest, which is sad," she added.

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