Humberside Chief on ‘darkest week’ for policing
After the news, that police forces will be asked to check staff against national databases to identify if anyone “slipped through the net” following the “sickening” crimes of a former Met officer, a Chief Constable has penned a message citing the ‘darkest weeks’ for policing.
The stronger measures follow the case of former Met officer David Carrick who admitted to dozens of rapes and sexual offences across two decades.
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) will ask forces to check current staff as well as strengthening vetting procedures.
Chief Constable Lee Freeman, of Humberside Police, addressed officers, volunteers, and staff following the events in London this week.
He began by labelling it ‘one of the darkest weeks for policing that I have known in 29 years of being a police officer.’
In reference to charges brought against former Metropolitan Police officer David Carrick, Freeman says it will have ‘far-reaching consequences for us all.’
He said Carrick ‘used his position of trust, as a means by which to commit offences and control his victims.’
‘It used to be unthinkable that such crimes could be committed by a serving member of a police force, but sadly, I think that for some members of the public, this behaviour is no longer considered unbelievable. We have to change that.’
‘I want to share with you how I personally feel about where we are as a service more generally.’ he wrote.
In regards to Humberside, he said ‘I feel that we have a collective responsibility to reflect and recognise that the events in London also directly impact on us and how our communities see us.’
Adding to the statement, he stressed ‘police legitimacy is hanging by a thread.
‘Regrettably, in Humberside Police, we are not immune from having our own instances of unacceptable conduct.’
‘I believe we must all do more to restore police legitimacy, trust and confidence in the eyes of the communities we serve.’
Though in regards to the hard work and often unseen work the force carries out, he said ‘There is much to be proud of, and the great many individual and team acts and results that I know you are proud of, are unquestionable.’
‘I need us all to move from a position of being the silent majority, to being active guardians of our culture and behaviours before we lose all police legitimacy with our communities and the permissions and the ability to police by consent.
‘Last year, our own force misogyny survey told us that female colleagues are still experiencing behaviours that we must all collectively start to identify and challenge more quickly and robustly, and we committed to do that.
‘Inappropriate sexual behaviour and conduct towards colleagues and victims, is unacceptable.’
‘In my personal opinion, this provides evidence that this is not just an issue for the Metropolitan Police Service, it is a broader policing issue.’ he said.
‘Right now, I feel that this trust has been severely damaged. Every interaction, response, and treatment of members of the public (and one another for that matter) must always be professional and must always put the public first.
The Chief Constable outlined expectations for the force:
- I expect every interaction that we have with the public be one that you would be happy for your own family members to have received
- I expect us all to treat every caller, every victim and every investigation in a way that restores public trust and confidence
- I expect every member of staff in Humberside to call out and challenge behaviours that are misogynistic, unwelcomed and not consistent with treating one another with professionalism, dignity, respect, compassion and empathy
- I expect all supervisors, managers and senior leaders to be responsible for setting and raising standards of behaviour, creating a culture where colleagues are supported and valued and held to account for the service they give to the public
- I expect us all to demonstrate to our communities that we can be trusted, through our actions and not words, so we can all do the job that we joined to do – serve and protect the public
‘I remain convinced that the overwhelming majority of colleagues are equally sickened and dismayed by the details that have emerged this week and with any cases we have experienced here in Humberside.
‘So please demonstrate that this belief remains true by actively supporting me in ensuring that our culture is one that naturally sees, calls out and deals, with any behaviour that further damages the trust that our communities have in us.
‘We all have a part to play in restoring public trust and confidence over the coming weeks, months and years. This work starts now.’ He concluded, adding that officer/staff/volunteers can anonymously report through the ‘Bad Apple’ system.