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National Review Of Police Officers, Staff And Volunteers

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has recently published the results of its mass screening exercise in which 300,000 police officers, staff and volunteers were checked against the Police National Database (PND). The PND is a record of intelligence and criminal investigations, including in relation to custody, child protection and domestic abuse.

The NPCC screening exercise was prompted by the cases of Wayne Couzens, who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, and David Carrick, a serial rapist who attacked 12 women. Couzens and Carrick were serving Metropolitan Police officers when they carried out their crimes, and after Sarah Everard’s death it was discovered that previous concerns about Couzens’ behaviour had been ignored.

The NPCC identified a small number of cases where further action was necessary. There were 9 incidents that were sufficiently serious to require the commencement of a criminal investigation, 88 cases in which an individual has been referred for disciplinary action and 139 occasions where re-vetting was required.

It is astonishing that the screening process unearthed so few incidents that required further action, though this is not particularly surprising. It is well known that police forces deal with allegations of police misconduct inadequately, and this was recently noted in a report about violence against women published in March 2023 by the NPCC and the College of Policing. The report acknowledged that “it is almost certain that the poor and inconsistent collection, quality and management of data mean that the true scale of risks, harms and opportunities for policing across all [Violence Against Women and Girls] threats are not fully understood”.1

Beyond the unimaginable crimes of Couzens and Carrick, we know that police perpetrated violence against women is a systemic issue. Last year Baroness Casey published the findings of her review into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service. Her report highlighted that the force is failing women, and she found that the organisation is institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic. The Metropolitan Police Service can no longer say that its failings are the result of a few ‘bad apples’.

Our Civil Liberties & Human Rights solicitors act for individuals who have been victims of police perpetrated harassment and/or violence. To speak to one of our experts call 0330 822 3451 or request a callback online.


1NPCC and College of Policing, ‘Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls’ (March 2023)