The officer was reportedly not charged and has not been suspended more than three years on.
A Metropolitan police officer has been allowed to continue working for the force unsuspended for three years after two colleagues accused him of sexual and physical abuse including rape, allegations which were later not taken forward by the Crown Prosecution Service. Even as the Met restricted his interactions with the public, it has never seen fit to prevent him working alongside other female officers.
Last year the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which compensates the victims of violent crimes, awarded both women substantial sums after it concluded that police evidence indicated each had been the victim of serious sexual and physical abuse.
The government-run compensation body evaluates claims based on the balance of probabilities. The CPS – which examines the likelihood of a jury convicting on the higher criminal burden of proof of beyond reasonable doubt – decided there was not enough evidence to take the officer to court.
This followed an investigation by Essex police into allegations of rape and abuse made by both women which, by that force’s own subsequent admission, had featured numerous shortcomings and decisions made using “very poor rationale”. However, Essex police concluded that despite these shortcomings, the matter would still not have resulted in successful criminal proceedings.
The women’s names have been changed to protect their anonymity along with the male suspect.
The two women, Kate* and Holly*, lived with the man in question, David*, during their respective relationships with him, which they describe as a carbon copy of one another and left them each traumatised. Both feel badly let down after coming forward to report their allegations.
Kate has been left to believe the police are inadequate at dealing with allegations of rape and domestic abuse. “I have no trust in the service I work for,” she told the Bureau.
“I just feel really sad,” Holly said. “You feel like you’re being gaslit by the police.” She described her frustration at having to take part in a recent sexual offences awareness week at work. “They’re putting out all the propaganda encouraging women and men to come forward and deal with sexual assault. I was left feeling a bitter taste in my mouth, thinking, ‘But you can’t even look after your own adequately.’”
In 2020, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) awarded her £17,100, saying “police evidence indicates that you were a victim of sexual abuse”.
CICA paid £11,600 to Kate, saying she had been raped and subjected to “serious physical abuse”.
CICA is part of the Ministry of Justice and awards compensation to victims of violent crime, sexual assault and abuse – but it does not need the same standard of proof as a criminal court.
The Met decided last month, a year after CICA’s findings, that the officer accused of rape would face a misconduct hearing. They have not set a date.
In a statement, the force said: “We take all allegations of domestic abuse extremely seriously and it is right and proper that the full circumstances of this case should be considered at a hearing. We continue to offer welfare support and assistance to the victims in this case.”
The Met confirmed the male officer had been taken off public-facing duties. Asked why he had never been suspended, it said a criminal investigation did not guarantee an officer would be suspended.
But the way the Met handled her experience at a local level was horrendous, Holly said.
“There was very little support, (it was) very poorly managed,” she said. “He massively controlled everything. He had his friends. He was looked after, whereas we were just cast aside and not cared for.”
At an early stage, the male officer was leaked the details of the investigation. Internal police documents examined by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed this allowed him to prepare his defence.
Solicitor Siobhan Crawford, who works on abuse cases, said: “The investigation and the steps taken thereafter by the Met have been completely inadequate, woeful, and let these women down.”
“It has taken just so long for the Met to take any action whatsoever against this person,” she added. “And I think what that says to other victims of domestic violence is, ‘we say we’ll protect you but actually it will take years and it may all come to nothing’.”
Holly still loves being a police officer but said she was “quite bitter about it”.
“But I want to try and change it because I don’t want anyone else to go through what I’ve been through… It makes you feel like you’re going crazy because you think, ‘why are you treating me this badly?'”
Kate said: “I have no trust in the service I work for.”
Home Office guidance says internal police misconduct investigations should generally be carried out in parallel with any possible criminal proceedings. The Met was kept informed about the criminal investigation into David, yet only formally decided this year – a year after the CPS declined to proceed with any criminal charges – that he should face gross misconduct proceedings. This could potentially result in his dismissal if there is a finding against him, but it may still be several months more before his hearing takes place.
The Met told the Bureau it was not appropriate to progress misconduct proceedings until criminal matters had been finalised, so all available information could be considered. It said the hearing would be “expedited as quickly as possible”.
The Bureau has previously reported on allegations of domestic abuse by police officers who were accused of using their positions within the force to intimidate their victims. In some instances, forces have failed to properly investigate or discipline the officers where appropriate and in various cases, the women – like Holly and Kate – worked for the same police forces as their alleged abusers. Some women believed forces had not adequately investigated their allegations in order to avoid bad publicity; at least one said she was bullied at work after reporting her partner.
The Met told the Bureau that it takes all allegations of domestic abuse extremely seriously. It said: “We continue to offer welfare support and assistance to the victims in this case.”
Holly has been left completely disillusioned by the force. “This is just not how the Met should be treating victims of domestic abuse,” she said. “I now feel like I will forever carry this with me while I stay within the police.”
Kate feels equally let down by the institution she serves. “I’m at a point where I can’t physically go to a domestic abuse call,” she said. “I’ve lost all faith in it.”
* All names have been changed for legal reasons
Reporter: Alexandra HealInvestigations editor: Meirion Jones
Production editor: Alex Hess
Fact checker: Chrissie Giles
Legal team: Stephen Shotnes (Simons Muirhead Burton)