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Police force's actions ‘like a plot from Life on Mars’, says former Police Officer


The following article is courtesy of reporter Hayley Dixon which was published in the Telegraph.

At the end of the article we will add our own comments regarding this type of behaviour which seems to be acceptable within Hampshire police, we will also highlight a Freedom of Information request where a previous Chief Constable in Hampshire used a pseudonym of Gene Hunt.

From the evidence that we are aware of, there has been no learning following previous similar incidents where Hampshire police officers appear to be unnacountable and above the law.

A former female police officer has accused bosses of running the force like a plot from the crime series Life on Mars after she accused a colleague of sexually assaulting her but he was allowed to keep his job and never prosecuted.

Rhianon Greenslade, who alleges the incident occurred one night after the senior officer took her to a New Forest car park while they were on patrol, claims internal investigators did not take her complaint seriously and it ruined her career.

One investigator even told her she should expect attention from male colleagues because she was attractive, she said, comparing the remark to a scene from the BBC’s 1970s-set police series Life on Mars.

The officer was later found guilty of gross misconduct and issued with a written warning.

A letter from a supporting officer who sat in on the interview between Ms Greenslade and the investigator, seen by the New Milton Advertiser newspaper, stated she was treated appallingly and the main aim seemed to be to minimise the impact on the force.

Hampshire police has defended the inquiry by the force’s professional standards department, saying the officer was not prosecuted due to lack of evidence and the investigator could not recall making the remark, but “if this was the impression he left, he can only unreservedly apologise”.

Ms Greenslade, who has now left the force, claims she was targeted by the officer in 2007 when she was a 19-year-old probationer. She alleged that he bombarded her with “crude” texts after getting her mobile number from the force’s secure computer system before assaulting her when they were on patrol.

She complained and an investigation was launched, in which she claims that she was interrogated, “treated like the suspect not the victim”, and left feeling no one believed her. Weeks later she was told the officer had been given a warning and moved to another station, but she was not told what the warning was for or what it meant. “The investigator ended by giving me ‘fatherly advice’ as he put it. He said, ‘You are an attractive female and should expect such attention from male officers, and at least next time you will know how to do things differently’,” said Ms Greenslade.

“Did he mean that I should expect to be assaulted again by a male officer or that it was my fault the investigation went nowhere? This really upset me and I fled the room in tears. “I felt like I was being blamed for what had happened, and looking back it was clear from the start they never believed me. I was absolutely gutted.” “It was like the force had moved back into the times of ‘Life on Mars’.”

She believes if she had treated an alleged victim in this way she would have been disciplined, and she lost faith in the force which had simply moved the officer to another station. The disciplined officer later attended the station and apologised to her, she said.

Ms Greenslade’s allegations were put to Hampshire Constabulary, and in response, Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde issued the following statement. “We have reviewed all records relating to the complaint made by former PC Greenslade in 2007, including all subsequent investigations made. It is very clear that the force took Ms Greenslade’s complaint very seriously, immediately suspending the accused officer until a full and comprehensive inquiry could be carried out.

At no stage was Ms Greenslade moved to a different station or role. “Whilst there is no information to suggest that a thorough and professional investigation was not carried out, we regret the officer felt the investigation was not dealt with in a manner she found satisfactory. “The investigating officer in the case does not recall using the terminology which upset Ms Greenslade, but if this was the impression he left, he can only unreservedly apologise.

“This investigation was reviewed in January this year as a result of media interest. It was found to be a comprehensive and professionally conducted process." A force spokesperson said that the decision not to prosecute the officer was taken by the police as a file was never submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

COMMENT

The following are three examples of similar conduct highlighting the culture of sexism and cover up by Hampshire police when dealing with sexual offences including those reported by their own officers.

The way that the police deals with its own staff can be considered a reflection of how the police deal with members of the public who have been victims of sexual assault.

First example

A police Inspector was accused of serious sexual offences against several female staff. Again the matter was not referred to the Crown Prosecution Service and dealt with internally where rather than sacking the officer, Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan reduced the officer to the rank of Sergeant,

The officer was believed to have been protected and was transferred to the Isle of Wight where his conduct was reported for both sexism, racism and the way he dealt with the public.

The officer was also permitted to stalk and harass a police officer and his wife who reported his conduct.

Although the officer had appealed to the Home Secretary regarding his reduction in rank which was refused, prior to his retirement the force promoted the officer to Inspector again despite the officer not being qualified.

This would mean that the officer would also receive a larger pension and lump sum on retirement and could be perceived as a form of corruption.

With regards to Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan, he subsequently used the pseudonym of Gene Hunt when making a Freedom of Information request to the Association of Police Authorities. Perhaps this is another example of the culture exhibited at the highest level in Hampshire police.

Second example

Hampshire Police had previously paid a six-figure sum to police officer Lesley Evans, 37, who was the only woman officer working with 22 men in the CID department in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

The tribunal in Southampton was told of a lengthy catalogue of harassment, including one incident in which a colleague leant against her and simulated sex "like a rutting pig". On another occasion, the same officer dropped his trousers in front of Mrs Evans, who was then a detective constable. When she complained to her superior, Detective Sergeant Geoff Crowe, he laughed it off.

Hampshire Police declined to reveal the exact figure of the settlement, which was reached days before she was due to return to the tribunal.

Third example

Click on link below for news article on this appalling case where a victim was not believed and even subsequently arrested. Following DNA testing it was confirmed that the victim had been telling the truth.

Rape victim falsely accused of lying by police wins £20,000 payout

#PaulKernaghan #sexism #Greenslade #sexualassault #PSDcorruption

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