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Police chiefs to tackle sexual harassment

30 August 2018

THE ACTION plan is being developed in response to a survey by UNISON that uncovered the extent of sexual harassment against police staff.

Half (49%) of the police staff questioned had heard sexualised jokes told repeatedly at work, and one in five (19%) had received a sexually explicit email or text from a colleague.

This action plan will equip staff and supervisors to challenge this behaviour and encourage reporting in a safe and secure work environment.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for professional ethics, chief constable Julian Williams said, "UNISON and the London School of Economics (LSE) research into sexual harassment among police staff is important. It shines a light into policing and finds some outdated and unacceptable behaviour that must be rooted out. This behaviour falls short of the high standards set in the Code of Ethics, which each member of the policing profession is expected to uphold.

“We invited UNISON and the LSE to speak to all chief constables about their findings in July. There is already good practice in forces with staff surveys to identify the level of unreported sexual harassment, training and campaigns but we need to do more. We have committed to developing a comprehensive action plan by October that addresses the range of harassment found. Some of the behaviour described is predatory and requires the strongest response from police with individuals removed from the service. Other behaviours like the repeated telling of sexualised jokes may not be malicious in intent but are misguided and damaging, and our focus will be on finding effective ways challenging them.”