News | Press Release

31 August 2023

Refuge responds to the announcement that Police Officers found guilty of gross misconduct will face automatic dismissal

Ellie Butt, Head of Policy Public Affairs and Research said:  

“Refuge welcomes the Home Secretary’s announcement today that police officers and staff found guilty of gross misconduct will face automatic dismissal. This would be the default policy in any other profession, and it is only right that this is the case for policing when the public’s protection relies on it. It is startling that it has taken a string of atrocious high-profile crimes committed by serving officers against women for this change to be made.    

For too long corrupt officers have been serving in the force with police chiefs saying they do not have the power to dismiss them. These changes give police chiefs the power to root out corrupt officers and with this power they must ensure that instead of closing ranks and protecting their own that they are committed to overhauling the culture, supporting survivors and reestablishing public confidence in the police by removing predatory police officers and staff who should not be there.  

We would like to see the police give clear guidelines as to what accounts for gross misconduct and ensure that all VAWG (violence against women and girls) is included and specified in this guidance. We would also like to see these changes go much further to root out abusers at an earlier stage. 

Refuge is particularly concerned that accused perpetrators of VAWG continue to work in roles that involve women and girls, including domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors, while awaiting the outcome of misconduct investigations. We are calling on the Government to introduce immediate suspension of all police officers and staff accused of Violence Against Women and Girls, pending the outcome of an investigation. More needs to be done at an earlier stage to stop these huge abuses of power and improve trust in the police so that women and girls can come forward with confidence.”