March 21st 2021, 11PM—Deliveroo drivers are queuing outside Taka Taka, a Greek takeaway near Bridewell Police Station in the centre of Bristol. They negotiate orders through plastic visors, pick up bundles of oregano-laden chips and tzatziki pots, lamb kebabs that have pirouetted all day, swathed in flatbreads and topped with an ugly bell pepper. Grease-thick steam rises, condenses and is wiped clean from the brows of dough-hatted chefs; their mouths shout order numbers at the gig-economy crowd. About ten metres away, a police car is on fire. A protester does a kickflip.
There are swarms of people all over Bridewell. Lines of police hammer protestors with the blades of their shields. Protestors hammer back with fists and tossed debris, set off fireworks and fall back. The police, surprised, go harder still. The hospitals are filled with injured protestors. Medics are harassed, arrested, journalists bullied and truncheoned. The night echoes those we have seen play out across the USA for over a year, after the encoded racism of American Empire reified itself on the body of George Floyd as the sheer impossibility of breathing under the state’s unflagging tonnage.
In Bristol, the protests’ foundational scene is similar: the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police Officer. Both instances concretise the advance of political power against its subjects—a campaign of unmitigated exhaustion and depletion, the sweeping aside of black bodies, the predation of women’s, the abhorrence of the unexploitable and the negation of the exploited: an endless war on an outside which remains impossible to the logic of capital, yet integral to the economic expansion and social repression that that logic necessitates—‘how can you be so violent, when one of your mates murdered someone like me the other week?’ screams a woman in the crowd, before she is swatted away by the police as if she was nothing.
The structural target of the protests is the recent Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which—at the time of writing—has stalled at the committee stage in the Commons, but still threatens to be pushed through in time. At over 300 pages long, its provisions are far-reaching and aim at overwhelming any opposition—though the Labour Party seem to be doing a good job overwhelming themselves; initially planning to abstain, they only opposed the bill after the public outcry.
One of the main sources of contention is what the bill could mean for protests. Currently, police must substantiate that a protest will cause “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community” before they impose restrictions on it. In the past, this vagueness has afforded police enough room to, for example, kettle 4000-5000 G20 protestors in April 2009, not because they themselves were deemed to be breaching the peace, but because a group nearby was. The crowds were held for four hours, before the use of “reasonable force” was sanctioned in order to disperse them. In the ensuing throng, Ian Tomlinson, a newspaper seller not attached to the protest, was batonned from behind by an officer who was wearing a balaclava and had his police number concealed. Tomlinson collapsed fifteen minutes later and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
If the bill passes into law, police chiefs will no longer need to demonstrate that a protest is likely to cause serious disorder before imposing restrictions and will be given even more interpretive room to justify repressive measures. Start and finish times will be mandated in advance on protests with as little as one person present, the “controlled area” around Westminster, which prohibits protest activities, will be expanded, police will be able to set noise limits in order to prevent what the bill calls “serious unease” of passersby and fines of up to £2,500 will be issued to protestors who refuse to follow the conditions laid out by the police. It will also be considered a crime if the protestors “ought to know that the condition has been imposed,” leaving the possibility of punitive actions disturbingly open-ended. Officers like the one who struck Ian Tomlinson will be entrusted with dictating the terms of their own backlash and what constitutes apposite freedom of expression will be decided by those in whose interests it is to limit that expression.
This is nothing new—the goalposts of peaceful protest have always been defined arbitrarily. Contemporary coverage of civil rights actions which are now considered exemplary of non-violent praxis, such as Martin Luther King’s marches in the South, show that any action which is potentially threatening to the status quo will be deemed violent—whether or not there is violence and whether or not that violence starts with the protesters or the police—until it can be recuperated into a Liberal imaginary of peaceful progress which doesn’t threaten capital. As Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari point out, “state overcoding is precisely this structural violence that defines the law, “police” violence and not the violence of war. There is lawful violence wherever violence contributes to the creation of that which it is used against.” Violence becomes “simply a natural phenomenon the responsibility for which does not lie with the state, which uses violence only against the violent.” In effect: the very constitution of violence proceeds from the a priori assumption that the state’s use of force is natural and justified, an assumption that consequently cannot allow for the idea that the social conditions which it perpetuates precipitate the exact types of violence it abhors.
This bill however would go closer than ever before to criminalising protest, something which is supposedly sacrosanct to liberal democracy. It is hard to picture what protest could mean to its authors, since it's obvious they have never had anything to protest about. Protests must draw attention to themselves and insert a break in the homogeneity of day-to-day life in order to be protests. The outcome of the bill then, will be an absolute defanging of the legal means for reproach and a consolidation of the state’s monopoly on definitions of violence. It would, as the human rights barrister Adam Wagner points out, essentially make permanent the de facto ban on protests that is already in place due to COVID regulations.
As well as a result of the proposal of the bill then, the Bristol protests could well be a premonition of its effects, as the police used COVID regulations as a pretext for violent dispersal tactics (the police’s apology to protestors arrested outside the trial of the ‘Colston Four’ in January calls the legal legitimacy of this pretext into question though). Before the first Kill the Bill action was due to start, Avon and Somerset Police advised that protests should be carried out online. The bathos of a 10,000-strong Zoom call, disembodied faces expressing their anger to crunchy laptop microphones, perhaps this is what the bill’s authors are aiming for: mass politics denuded of the masses, all the spontaneity and potentialities of collective mobilisation stoppered and stuffed into however long your bandwidth is, occupations that only occupy Hertzian space.
In fact, the bill is preoccupied with space, its enclosure and the conditioning of the way bodies are allowed to move in it. Guy Shrubsole’s book Who Owns England? draws on FOI and map data to conclude that 48% of land in England is owned by less than 1% of its population. Of that 48%, 18% is owned by corporations and 30%, the largest amount owned by any one group, is owned by a very-much-still-extant aristocracy. A further 17% belongs to city bankers and new money, the typical bourgeoisie. To trespass on this land is currently a civil offence, but, if the Conservatives follow through on their 2019 manifesto, it will soon become a criminal one, giving police the power to curtail ancient freedoms and place further restrictions on the Right to Roam, which in England pertains to only 10% of the land.
The provisions of the current bill focus on those “residing on land without consent in or with a vehicle.” Just as similar legislation under the Cameron government transferred squatting from a civil to a criminal offence and consequently criminalised a way of life that many unhoused folk rely on then, this bill will redound most heavily on those without fixed abodes, namely Gypsy, Romany and Traveller communities. Vans—which, to be clear, are homes—will be confiscated indefinitely, the legal threshold for police to harass and intervene in settlements will be lowered and the extremely violent scenes that played out on Dale Farm in 2011 could become more and more frequent.
This is red meat for Middle England's more sadistic postcodes, where, according to YouGov polling, over 40% of people would be unhappy with a close relative forming a relationship with a traveller, over 10% think “gypsys/travellers should be refused entry into bars and restaurants, because they are gypsys/travellers” and GRT children have by far the lowest school attainment of any cohort. The local election literature of Labour MP Charlotte Nichols explicitly boasted of “dealing” with “incursions” by traveller communities, which speaks to both the willingness of the Labour Party to sell out these communities and the embeddedness of anti-GRT rhetoric to the extent that it is seen as a vote-winner by both major parties.
Again, this is nothing new, nor is it unique to the UK. Since the emergence of GRT groups in Western Europe in the Early Modern period, their status as subjects on the periphery of a nascent capitalism led to demonisation by the equally nascent, modern nation state. As capital drew peasants into the urban proletariat, traveller communities eluded incorporation into the sedentary labour pool and undermined the gradual subordination of the commons under a regime of private property relations by their nomadism.
The bill, which presents itself as a protection of private property, can be seen as proceeding directly from capitalism’s insolvency with this type of nomadic lifestyle. While it takes the cosmopolitan businessman to be its modern imago, the nomad is an absolute outside whose rootlessness is in tension with the basic injunctions of capitalist social production and threatens the accumulative property of capital investment—in particular, house prices, the inflation of which has been the Conservative’s skeleton key for clinging onto power for decades.
This rhetoric often centres on a double-bind. Just as an anti-Semite might accuse Jews of being communists in one breath and the conniving financiers of international capital in the other, politicians engaging in anti-GRT prejudice will demonise GRT encampments for producing “excessive noise, smells, litter or deposits of waste,” as per the bill, but offer no solutions to the lack of authorised sites, even as families are left without access to running water, toilets or refuse spots in the middle of a pandemic. Again, the state asserts its prejudice on the outcomes it helps perpetuate and opts to criminalise a way of life rather than sustain it.
Pogroms, enslavement and expulsion are all commonplace to the history of GRT communities. They may have reached a peak with the “Porjamos” (literally “the devouring”), which saw close to half-a-million Romani people killed at the hands of the Nazis, but this was neither the first, nor the last genocide and evidence for coercive sterilisations of Romani women in the Czech Republic date as recently as 2001. Meanwhile, violent attacks against encampments, which are often sites of extreme privation, are on the rise across Europe in keeping with the reactionary turn of the past decade. Under these conditions, to further legitimise anti-GRT hatred and foreclose on their freedoms for electoral gains is deplorable.
On the 24th March, a protest is held in Bristol specifically focused on the anti-GRT elements of the bill. One sign reads, ‘first they came for the gypsies.’
A week after the first Bristol protest, Home Secretary Priti Patel, the architect of the bill, will denounce those involved as ‘thugs’—a word that was bastardised from Hindi by British colonisers in the 1800s and used to designate the othered subjects of the Indian interior that escaped assimilation into the Imperial machine, haunting the colonial imagination with the possibility of an outside. What followed this designation was of course a brutal and legal eradication of whoever was labelled ‘thug’ or ‘thuggee’ under the terms of the Thuggee and Dacoity Suppression Acts, 1836–48. Since then, the word ‘thug’ has come to cipher the neuroses of the state, flung at any deemed outside, from striking miners to Irish immigrants and travellers.
The fascist Carl Schmitt wrote that ‘the core of the political is not enmity per se, but the distinction between friend and enemy, and presupposes both friend and enemy.’ The inconsistencies and fragility of political power cannot be seen as immanent to it, but rather as coming from a non-reconcilable other—a ‘thug,’ an ‘outside agitator’ or a non-incorporable community. Any regime which imposes a socio-economic orthodoxy as stridently as a state must have an outside to deflect the internal precarity of its normative social mores on to so that the inside, the ‘friends’ can be seen as whole and not lacking. In relation to the state then, the outside is caught in the curious position of having both its existence and its destruction as necessary components for the continuation of a state of affairs which designates it as such.
In Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control, he writes ‘there is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.’ As the Tory stranglehold on state power slides ever closer to all-out fascism, what will be left to do other than be ‘thugs’?
Sexual violence against women and children. Domestic abuse. Police violence. Violence. Suicide.
Part 3: The Women They Rape
In the first two parts of this series, I showed you how The Police ignore the institutional misogyny that is policing, and that there’s practically nothing in place to stop cops abusing their power just to get their rocks off.
Here is where all of that culminates. But first.
Rape Has Been Decriminalised in The United Kingdom
If you’ve been raped, what might be on your phone that proves you’ve been raped? I’ve been sitting here for a while asking myself that question. The best I can come up with is a text to the rapist saying words to the effect of “you raped me”. I dunno. This is an uncomfortable thought experiment.
What about the opposite question? What would prove you weren’t raped? My woke AF brain is not happy with that question. My um best… answer for this is another text “wasn’t that sex fun?”
I’m not entirely naïve. And after lifetimes of dealing with male bullshit, neither are women. The above examples alone prove nothing. One can imagine how a defence lawyer might use sexts or nudes found on a victim’s phone in court. They’re just modern additions to the “what was she wearing?” defence.
Which brings us to the UK’s merit-based approach to prosecuting rape. Which certainly seems positive, or at least, not total utter garbage. In short, it looks at what the merits of a conviction will be, as opposed to how likely one would be.
For example; If it is statistically unlikely for a conviction to be achieved for rapes where the victim had been drinking, and a new case of rape involves a drunk victim, the prosecutor has to ignore that statistic, because the benefit of a rapist off the street is deemed more important.
But here’s the inevitable but: The latest Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Crime Survey found in England and Wales only 16% of rapes are reported. In 2019-2020 a bit more than 55,000 allegations of rape were made. 1.4% of those resulted in a charge or summons. There are no official rape statistics for children.
These are not precise numbers, but you work with the data you’re given:
So, the effective charge rate of rape in England and Wales is 0.2%. And that’s not convictions. Merely charges. It’s obscenely low. Obscenely. Like. What the actual fuck? Why is this happening?
Campaigners believe the merit-based approach has been unofficially abandoned by the Crown Prosecution Service in favour of a bookies approach. So, the End Violence Against Woman Coalition brought a legal challenge making this claim against the CPS.
The court ruled against the campaigners.
And so, the opinion of leaders of several women’s and victims’ groups is that rape is effectively decriminalised in the United Kingdom. Vera Baird, The Victim’s Commissioner, Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, and Shadow Solicitor General Ellie Reeves all said exactly that.
This seems to be in large part because cases are immediately dropped when victims do not want to hand over their phones to the police for one of those “digital strip searches” I described in Part 2. Who can blame them? While attitudes may be slowly shifting, women are aware of victim blaming questions like “what was she wearing?” That most victims know their rapist, and any indication that she may have had some sexual desire towards him at some point will be used against her, it’s not surprising that a woman wouldn’t want to hand over her phone.
And I presume they don’t know all the stuff you and I know from reading this. Goddamn it.
One tiny little teeny flickering ray of kind of maybe hope a little bit is that the police have U-turned on the digital strip searches. But it remains to be seen whether it’ll have any effect on the charge rate for Rape. For the past four years it’s been decreasing, and they only started demanding total phone access in 2018. There is little cause for optimism. Huh-fucking-rah.
So now we know the state of how the state handles rape cases as a whole: Shit out of ten. Let’s see how the police do when allegations are made against cops.
A 76% prosecution rate as a whole (not counting ‘Unclear’ or ‘Awaiting Trial’). Not Earth-shatteringly terrible. But like Sexual Assault, when we remove the children from the equation, the Guilty rate drops, this time to 57%.
I still can’t provide an explanation for this disparity. My hunch is that people, a jury, are more willing to believe a bunch of people saying, “this child was raped” than they are a woman saying, “I was raped”.
So yeah, it’s not good. I do not believe that a statistically significant number of rape complaints are false. Again, I reiterate that each of those numbers represents a woman overcoming all sorts of fears and reporting the cop who raped her.
Using the number of 16% of rapes being reported, we can extrapolate and estimate that the total number of women raped by police officers over the past ten years is closer to 469. But that number only counts cases that went to trial, were reported on by the press, and I found. And most definitely doesn’t account for the extra fears someone has when reporting a police officer. It’s a bare minimum, not-even-conservative kind of estimate.
Supposing aside, let’s break down the charges we do know about a bit. They’re split between thirty-five men. The charges marked as ‘Unclear’ are ones where I couldn’t find a story following up the one case being referred to – the accused officer had four charges against him.
Two cops are awaiting trial. The two reports concerning them each consist of one hundred words. Both officers are sergeants. That’s all we’ve got.
Not Guilty Does Not Mean Innocent
Thirty Not Guilties are split between thirteen men. Fourteen of those Not Guilty charges belong to Inspector Mustaq Patala. A bit of a shit.
Inspector Mustaq Patala physically attacked his pregnant wife. Inspector Mustaq Patala threw a chair at his wife. Inspector Mustaq Patala regularly attacked her for more than ten years.
In 2010 she reported him, and he was charged with domestic violence offences. He admitted two counts of assault, and all the other charges were dropped.
A few years later he was arrested again after several women reported him for raping them while he was still a cop. He allegedly told one he was a police officer who “could find and kill her”. Which, y’know, tracks as far as The Police go when they do crimes to people. In the end, the case was thrown out by the judge who said there was something wrong with the legal submissions. That’s all I’ve found as the reason.
Patala claimed the rape charges were due to the jealousy of his colleagues, and institutional racism. I’ll be clear here; I have no problem believing there’s institutional racism in The Police. Or indeed that they’re all a bunch of petty little dickholes. Because fuck the cops. But about three seconds of thinking pisses all over his stupid claims. He wasn’t employed by The Police anymore. Even they don’t let you keep your job after you’ve attacked your wife and been prosecuted for it. Though it’s only the first bit of that they don’t mind.
So, The Police just made up some rapes a while after Patala had been fired for… what reason? The CPS thought they had a good chance of prosecuting him because it got in front of a judge, and we know they’re super not keen on prosecuting rapes. So, they must have thought they’d had a shot. I dunno. It all fucking stinks to me. Someone fucked up somewhere. Everyone sucks.
I hope those women are okay.
The majority of the rest of the Not Guilty charges are cases where there have been other charges, some of which have been proven and returned a Guilty verdict. Rape has not been proven though. One case does seem to have been a false accusation.
Then there’s the case of PC Andrew Robertson. Allegedly, his partner held down a woman while PC Andrew Robertson raped her. In court it was their word against hers. I wonder if the jury believed them because PC Andrew Robertson is a cop. Maybe it was simply a numbers game, two versus one. Read the linked article and decide for yourself. But it seems pretty fucking iffy to me.
My point here is that I believe the women who made these allegations. I refuse to believe that half the women who accused cops of raping them were making it up. If you’ve been following this series, you know the kind of fights they’ll have had to go through.
You guys, I hate it.
The Eighteen Rapists We Know About For Sure
The outcome of all of the cases above reminds me of the words of the victim of the very first police officer convicted of rape that I read about:
“His not guilty plea caused me to have panic attacks. … Every contact regarding the trial heightened my anxiety. At times I thought I was suffering a cardiac event and thought I would not be able to continue.”
This is just one victim. Sergeant Derek Seekings was at work, on his meal break. Sergeant Derek Seekings wanted to have sex with the woman who was present with him at the time. She told him plainly and clearly that she did not want to have sex with him. Sergeant Derek Seekings didn’t care what she wanted. Sergeant Derek Seekings carried on regardless of her clear denial of consent. Sergeant Derek Seekings raped her.
Sergeant Derek Seekings’ subsequent denial of reality caused her to feel like she was going to die, that her heart was going to explode.
It sickens me. All the victims quoted in the press have similar sentiments of lingering terror. I fear the women in the previous section felt something even more intense when they were told that their reality was legally wrong. It sounds unbearable. It makes sense why an accused man would deny it of course, he’s trying to save his own arse. But it’s all a part of why women think they won’t be believed when they report that a man has raped them. And as a cop, there’s no way he’d not know that. I wonder what weight it adds when your rapist is a cop.
These numbers are from the ONS Crime Survey, they apply to the population as a whole, not specifically rapist cops. The reporting for them will be far lower.
I Fucking Hate A Man in Uniform
Rereading all the articles I collected, I noted that at least half of these men in some way used their status as a police officer to rape their victims. Some used it as a way to impress women, some to gain their trust. Some used it to scare them into staying quiet.
And once again, I can’t emphasise this enough: The stories I’ve collected are based on often short media reports. I don’t know all the details, their roles as cops could well have been significant or at least a factor in all of these cases. But here are three I picked at random.
I’m a white guy. So, unless I’m doing something illegal, I don’t pay the police much attention when they’re nearby. Sergeant Clive Garton, also a white man, presumably thought this is what most people think too. Mixed with that, he was a cop. He could do anything. Go anywhere. He didn’t need permission. It’s not suspicious for a cop to be anywhere. He owned the streets. Whose streets? Clive’s streets.
And for three years, that’s how Sergeant Clive Garton stalked his victim. A physically disabled woman. That’s how Sergeant Clive Garton controlled her. Sergeant Clive Garton would appear out of the blue wherever she happened to be. Sergeant Clive Garton lied to her and told her he was on police business nearby. Sergeant Clive Garton knew where she was because he was tracking her phone.
Sergeant Clive Garton had training in covert surveillance. Sergeant Clive Garton placed listening devices in her house. Sergeant Clive Garton made recordings of her.
Sergeant Clive Garton was in her house arguing with her. Sergeant Clive Garton approached her as she sat on her staircase. Sergeant Clive Garton started trying to hug and kiss her. She tried to get away. Sergeant Clive Garton held her down. She couldn’t escape. Sergeant Clive Garton raped her.
Sergeant Clive Garton wouldn’t leave her home. She called the police and told them that Sergeant Clive Garton had raped her. Sergeant Clive Garton begged her to retract her statement. She did.
She reported him again. He was arrested. Charged. Bailed. He was told not to contact her. Sergeant Clive Garton bombarded her with texts.
At trial, Sergeant Clive Garton said she was a liar. Sergeant Clive Garton said she was mentally impaired because of her physical disability.
“I felt very frightened of him. I still feel intimidated by him. I am convinced he will turn up again one day even if it is in years to come. I felt ashamed, betrayed, mocked, and not believed. He has made my life a misery.”
“Hence why I mentioned the sofa, I’m nice Lol”
In May 2020, my brother was supposed to get married in Chicago. That’s where his fiancée is from. Covid-19 put a halt to that. But the thought of a destination wedding was pretty fucking exciting. A drunken weeklong binge on American grease with my family sounded like a damn good time. At some point my sister and I might whip out our respective Tinders and bond by checking out the local talent.
I’d bet PC Lee Martin-Cramp felt similarly excited as the weeks counted down towards a family wedding in Antigua. What might he see, and whom might he meet?
They matched on Tinder. Chatted a bit. Arranged to meet up. She lived on a different part of the island to where he was staying. It was too far to walk. PC Lee Martin-Cramp told her what he did for a living. PC Lee Martin-Cramp sent her photos of him in his uniform. PC Lee Martin-Cramp asked if he could stay over. She agreed, but told him via WhatsApp:
“But if I'm being totally real with you, and we're hanging out & drinking, don't come with an expectation of having sex, aight? I would rather be real upfront, and i don't do that kind of thing with people I just meet. Ya dig?”
PC Lee Martin-Cramp lied and said he was happy to sleep on the sofa. Lol.
They drank. They chatted. They headed back to her place to hang out and watch a movie. She poured them both a glass of wine. She headed to her bedroom to change into something more movie-watching appropriate. PC Lee Martin-Cramp mixed the crushed up sleeping pills into her drink. She returned to the living room. The movie started. She took a swig of her wine. She asked him why it tasted funny. PC Lee Martin-Cramp said he’d poured some vodka in it. She took another sip. She started to feel dizzy. She passed out.
PC Lee Martin-Cramp dragged her into her bedroom. PC Lee Martin-Cramp stripped her. PC Lee Martin-Cramp began to rape her. She regained consciousness. PC Lee Martin-Cramp was on top of her, raping her. She screamed no. PC Lee Martin-Cramp kept raping her. She passed out again.
The following morning she awoke, naked, with him in bed next to her. She drove him back to his hotel.
"For many months, I felt numb if not empty. I cried myself to sleep at night every night for an entire year. I typed many suicide letters on my phone then after a few days deleted them, just to write another."
“I’m A Cop, I Can Do What I Want”
She’d reported him to the police once before. They didn’t believe her. PC Michael Graham told her they wouldn’t.
Describing something as lucky sometimes feels wrong. It’s relative, I suppose. Being in a park. In the dark. Scared. Crying. Injured. Found by his enablers, the police. It doesn’t conjure a vision of luck. But that September night in 2014, I reckon for PC Michael Graham’s victim, ‘luck’ is the best word we’ve got.
It’s not clear how long PC Michael Graham abused her for. But she first reported him in 2012. The eventual charges only dated back to December 2013. The following is an amalgamation of many, many nights:
She opened the app, and set it to start recording when she snored. She placed her phone on the bedside, stood up, and walked towards the door. PC Michael Graham entered, and she started to shake.
PC Michael Graham grabbed the front of her dress. PC Michael Graham ripped her dress in two. PC Michael Graham pushed her against the wall. PC Michael Graham took her by the throat and began to squeeze. PC Michael Graham told her what she’d done and what he was going to do to make her pay for it. She already knew. PC Michael Graham threw her onto the bed. With the cry she made, the app began to record.
PC Michael Graham strode over, pulling his belt from his trousers. PC Michael Graham turned her over into a prone position. PC Michael Graham lashed her across her backside. “You cunt.”
“Please stop please don’t.”
PC Michael Graham lashed her again. “I hate you, you cunt.” PC Michael Graham said as he lashed her again.
“I hate you.” Again. “I hate you.” Again. “I hate you.” Again.
PC Michael Graham used his belt to tie her hands to the headboard. PC Michael Graham tore down her underwear. PC Michael Graham raped her. Again.
Her phone kept recording.
At trial, after her recordings were played, PC Michael Graham called her a liar. PC Michael Graham said it was consensual rough sex. PC Michael Graham said he was only angry because he’d given up smoking.
“You told me as a police officer you could do as you liked, that no one would believe me and you would tell your colleagues I was mental. You threatened to kill me and dispose of the evidence. I can no longer listen to music or watch television in case I can't hear you breaking in to kill me.”
The Perfect Job for Aspiring Rapists
I started this piece with the line “Rape has been effectively decriminalised in the UK” and then proceeded to tell you about three men who were caught, tried, and prosecuted. I do not believe that these are contradictory positions. I think it is good that they were caught, and I hope their prosecution brought their victims some kind of peace. But we should be preventing, not prosecuting.
I said in Part 1 that this is a men’s issue. It is men who incite all these crimes. And cops are members of society, so society is reflected in policing. Well, there are roughly one thousand rapes a day in the UK. The horrors I described above happen one thousand times a day. I don’t know how many of those thousand will be committed by police officers. But some will be, and they’ll have used their state power in the ways the men above did.
So the list never ends. The actual number will be higher. Far higher. Victims of sexual violence are frequently vulnerable people targeted precisely for their vulnerabilities. Cops have a habit of abusing vulnerable people. Rape is wildly underreported. Cops aren’t actively searching for the corrupt among them. And people are scared to report the police to the police.
Yeah, it’s the perfect job if you’re into that kind of thing.
It's so fucking fucked.
Tear It All Down
Every time I return to the spreadsheet with the data in to find a source or something, I spot a crime I haven’t mentioned that’s strikingly abhorrent. It’s been hard to resist the temptation to cherry pick the absolute worst of the worst and use them to paint all of policing as maniacs on raping sprees.
From workplace sexual harassment, to murder, to misuse of police data, to rape. Every single one of these crimes is violating, and most are brutal. I found them draining to write. I tried my best to not sensationalise the actions of those men. Just plainly describe the choices that they made. If I have written well enough, then the plodding ambivalence with which male violence against women committed by cops is treated by The Police will have dripped through. And indeed, male violence against women in general, because The Police and the justice system don’t give a shit about it.
For the final time I must acknowledge that a project like this, that hopes to hold the powerful to account, is built on the courage of women and girls whose names I’ll never know. But I would also like to recognise the very large number of, and very real fears other women and girls have when it comes to reporting sexual abuse, let alone by a police officer. How do we help them? They deserve our help.
Every day they aren’t helped means society has failed in yet another way. And at these pitiful levels of prosecution, clearly the justice system has failed too. It needs to go. From Community Support Officers to the stupid fucking wigs that judges wear, and everything in between. It all must go. It’s all a bad joke. They are not here to protect us. Anyone who still has faith is either uninformed or lying to themselves.
In March 2021, BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour interviewed two women: Susannah Fish, former Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, and Olivia Pinkney, the Chief Constable for Hampshire. Pinkney said all the usual platitudes organisations say when they’re accused of being shitty. “I don’t recognise…” Zzzzzzz. “We’re committed to…” Snore.
The final question the presenter, Emma Barnett, asked Susannah Fish was; knowing all she knows about the inner workings of The Police from top to bottom, and being a woman, would she report a crime?
Fish said that she’d not hesitate to report a crime against her property. But she would if it were against her body.
Writes and reads about horrible things, and turns them into video soup. find him at www.LovelyAlexander.com and follow him at @LovelyAlexanduh
Download the spreadsheet here: https://we.tl/t-vqccs8iDIm
Sexual violence against women and children. Domestic abuse. Police violence. Violence. Suicide.
Part 2: The Women They Find
In the first part of this series, I showed you parts of the misogyny running through British policing. It’s much easier for cops to get away with domestic abuse, and the wives and girlfriends of cops that report it are frequently let down. Women who work for The Police are scared to report sexual harassment in their workplaces. The Police keep being told this is happening, and yet refuse to do anything about it. Blah blah Police Force takes these matters very seriously and blah blah public can rest assured blah blah. Every. Goddamn. Time.
In part two, we’ll cover how being a police officer is one of the very best jobs to have if you want access to vulnerable women and children.
Corruption Isn’t Just About Money
Most of us are taught from a young age to do what a police officer tells us to do. They are there to protect us. Their authority shouldn’t be questioned. Many people will never believe anything else - and if amazingly somehow, but it’s very rare I promise, a bad apple does pop up, BBC documentary series ‘Line of Duty’ will make sure everything is tickety-boo once again.
Police power is necessary. Without it there’d be anarchy. All hail Johnson. All hail Patel. All hail Dick.
In some ways the data the police have access to via the Police National Computer and other systems, is their most unnerving tool. It’s made up of a bunch of databases filled with all the data they’ve gotten their trotters on. If someone or something has been involved in a crime and the police know about it, they have data on it. The existence of this probably isn’t a surprise to anyone. Police write things down. But what can they do with this data?
Some cops use it like Tinder.
Until this research began, my understanding of police corruption was pretty much limited to the movie ‘Serpico’. But no, it’s not just bribes and entrenched racism! On paper, a lot of police forces apparently still think the same as I used to. But misusing police data, and abusing police powers for a sexual purpose are most definitely corruption.
The absurdly named PEEL Spotlight Report Shining a Light on Betrayal: Abuse of Position for A Sexual Purpose from September 2019 by… deep breath… Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) makes plain its displeasure at police forces’ failure to recognise these things as corruption and suitably deal with them.
Clearly, the report focuses on one particular type of corruption, but the points raised must broadly apply to policing as a whole. Here’s a list of some of the teeeeny tiiiny massive problems the report identifies:
Quite a list, eh? Anyhoo. That’s what HMICFRS found. What have I found?
I’m focusing on Abuse of Position for A Sexual Purpose and Misusing Police Data for the bulk of the following words. But the other two charges in the above chart are related to this topic too.
Abuse of Position for A Sexual Purpose is a subcategory of Misconduct in Public Office, a corruption charge. There were so many Abuse of Position for A Sexual Purposes that I gave them their own label. However, Misconduct in Public Office covers loads of other things too, and the crimes labelled as Misconduct in Public Office offences I’ve counted are actions where a woman or child has come to harm in some way, but not because a cop has abused his power for sex.
Gross Misconduct is workplace bad behaviour. Not a crime (although officers convicted of a crime usually get one of these too, though I haven’t included them). If an officer is found guilty of Gross Misconduct, they almost always lose their job. Again, I’ve included these where a woman or child has been harmed in some way. It’s all male police violence, all the male time, when it comes to my male charts, baby.
Power and Purpose
Abuse of Position for A Sexual Purpose and Misusing Police Data often go hand in hand. In theory, it’s entirely reasonable to give your phone number to a police officer when you’ve been a victim of crime. I won’t fault someone for doing that. And it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable if the cop puts it in his police issued phone. Right?
I couldn’t find out what the police can and can’t do with the Police National Computer on their phones. But they can definitely access it. Whether they can make entries to it, I’m not sure. If so, that’s where a victim’s details should go, right? On balance, it seems like better procedure to store it on a centralised database than as a new contact in the contact list of a phone. Well, cops sure do seem to end up with the phone numbers of victims without having misused any police data a lot. Hmm.
Each of these one-hundred-and-two stories is awful. None are quite as shocking as the one involving DC Michael McMillan from Part 1: none involves an officer holding the threat of dropping a case over a victim’s head. Few involve officers specially trained to deal with cases of domestic abuse. And only three involve cops falsifying or ignoring evidence in rape cases. So that’s good. Hoooraaaayyyyyyy.
Most of the cases play out something like this whether the victim is a woman or a child: Police officer responds to emergency call. Police officer deals with victim, or witness, or suspect who is vulnerable. Police officer fancies her. Police officer gets her phone number legitimately or otherwise. Police officer starts texting her for an apparently innocent reason a couple of days later.
That happens in most of these cases, mark my words. When you’ve read about as many as I have, it’s hard to pick one case out, because they seem so typical. So ordinary. Which is bad thinking. Bad Lovely Alexander! None of this is ordinary, even if it’s common.
A case study in the HMICFRS report describes a married officer who’d been using his work phone to text thirteen different women he met through his duties. Four of whom believed they were in a relationship with him. That seems like a shit load of effort, like, right? Must have been a power trip. I dunno. Still, I didn’t even find that story in the news while I was doing my research.
So, whether it’s a power thing or an attraction thing, it doesn’t really matter. It’s shitty either way. They start texting. At this point the stories go pretty much all the ways they can go. Except here they get the apparent backing of the state. Have a look.
PC Mark Wilkie liked to send explicit, sexual text messages to victims of crime. PC Mark Wilkie liked to anonymously call victims of crime and make heavy breathing sounds down the line. PC Mark Wilkie did this to at least twelve women. PC Mark Wilkie was caught with a stolen phone containing the phone numbers of over fifty women.
PC Ben Murphy liked to stop female motorists for made up offences and let them off with a warning. PC Ben Murphy would then start texting them messages of a sexual nature. PC Ben Murphy did this to at least five women. PC Ben Murphy sent at least one woman a picture of his penis.
PC Lee Kershaw stole the phone numbers of vulnerable women. PC Lee Kershaw didn’t like it when those vulnerable women rejected his advances. So, PC Lee Kershaw sexually assaulted at least four of them. PC Lee Kershaw also tried to rape a victim of domestic abuse.
Those are just three men who did this. Three men. Three policemen. Out of tens. Hundreds? Thousands? We’ll never know. They were able to do those things with authority and phone numbers. Just phone numbers. A 0, a 7, and nine random numbers.
Voyeurs and The Indecent
In the past few years, The Police have acquired technology that can quickly download the contents of a smartphone, cracking encryption in minutes and giving them access to everything. Contacts. Locations. Messages. Pictures. They’re known as “digital strip searches”. Let’s not mince words. This tech gives the police access to your nudes, and anything else you consider personal, private, or intimate on your phone. I’ve seen no cases involving police officers obtaining pictures like this. But I know they’re coming.
Well, two things.
Firstly, in an audit, 50% of digital strip searches by one force were done without the required warrant. Data is everywhere and The Police want it. Maybe in some cases they’ll even need it. They’ll do whatever they can to get it.
And secondly, well, have a look the numbers for y’self.
While a term like ‘indecent images’ sounds prudish, it doesn’t refer to porn. Porn is created willingly by the participants for the purpose of entertaining others. Oh, and that’s why we don’t call it ‘child porn’. ‘Child sexual abuse images’ if you please. That’s evidence of a crime taking place.
I’m not going to go into significant detail on child sexual abuse images, despite it being the most common charge by far. Fifty-nine cops were charged with related offences, many with multiple. For the most part, that’s because viewing, saving, and sharing all earn separate charges. It’s not a reflection of how many of the images they possessed. From what I figure the images were mostly of girls. It’s still male violence against women, well, girls. Clearly a lot of cops thought it was fine to watch and enjoy children getting raped. And that’s very fucking bad.
A few officers were part of units dedicated to combating child sexual abuse, but only one is definitively linked by the media to have used his police-taught dark web skills to try and get away with possession of the images. Lee Vincent Kelly. But for the most part, they’re caught the “normal” ways. It’s found after they’re caught for another crime, usually attacking a child. Or, by mistakenly leaking some sort of identifying information online, and then having their house raided. Like dumbshit of the fucking decade, PC Robert Branney who had his home address in his username on a child sexual abuse website.
One thing I picked up on is the common excuses used by men caught with child sexual abuse images. First is that they downloaded it by accident. Hmm. Nice save, guy! And number two is that they were very stressed… so… that made them… want to watch child sexual abuse? Two cops, PC Darren Wright and PC Adam Leighton-Price even blamed their leukaemia. The stress of having leukaemia made them want to watch children being raped. That is perhaps the darkest leap of logic I’ve ever seen.
But I digress. Returning to why I’m scared victims nudes will start being stolen. It’s because of cops like Detective Sergeant Benjamin McNish, who filmed a female colleague while she showered.
Or Sergeant Tim Lundy, who posted a woman’s “private sexual pictures” online with the explicit intention of causing her distress. That’s police-speak for “tried to ruin her fucking life.”
Both of those, and many more cases suggest the potential for blackmailing a woman or child with pictures or data from their phone. It’s only a matter of time.
Then there’s PC Dominic Dunne, who liked to secretly film women while having sex with them. PC Dominic Dunne liked to film women while they were unconscious. PC Dominic Dunne liked to film himself sexually assaulting women while they were unconscious.
Still, it was PC Dominic Dunne’s hubris that was his undoing. That he filmed his attacks made it easier for his victims to get justice. Everyone could see what he’d done.
When Your Sexual Assault Isn’t on Camera
I wonder a lot about the women who make an accusation of Sexual Assault, get to trial, and then the man, the cop, is found Not Guilty. I don’t know how I’d handle that. I can imagine sitting in a court room yelling; “But it fucking happened! He did it! What the fuck?! Why don’t you believe me?!”
And then I think of the officers who had multiple accusers and still walked free. What must that result have done to the minds of their alleged victims?
We’ve all been on an overcrowded train. Standing in a vestibule. It’s kinda gross. Hot. Moist. Awkward. I’m a large man, upward and outward. When I’m onboard, I try my best to respect the limited personal space of strangers. But I know I’m likely to bump into someone. Whatcha gonna do? It’s okay. It happens. I’d bet that’s the attitude of most people.
Over a six-month period, Ex-Chief Inspector Gary Davies was accused by three separate whole entire women of rubbing his crotch on them while on overcrowded trains.
He said he had a bad back (from a policing injury no less, how heroic) and needed to adjust his body’s weight distribution to relieve his back pain. As he shifted forward, his crotch came into contact with a woman.
Alright. Fair enough. I figure I’d overlook one quick accidental crotch bump on me. Again, bumping around into others a bit is standard on busy trains. So how long would it take for it to get weird? How long until I’d report it?
But if I were him, there’s no way I’d purposefully perform any kind of action where my crotch is pushed up against a stranger on a train. Man, woman, or child. He was a fucking cop boss. Fucksake he’s a goddamn human being alive in the twenty-first century. He definitely knew it was at leeeast inappropriate. There’s no way he didn’t.
While he wasn’t a cop at the time of the alleged offences, he said he was able to use his knowledge of policing to prove his innocence. Y’see at one point while investigating him, British Transport Police surveilled him illegally. Which he picked up on, because of his police knowledge. So, um that seems to be why he was Not Guilty.
This gets an “iffy” rating from me, what with the three different women reporting him. For the same thing! But nope. Not Guilty. Hmmm.
“My language might be seen as inappropriate and silly but it was to show police officers were not robotic and are approachable.”
Sergeant Richard Evans is a custody sergeant. He’s in charge of the people in the police cells. The above quote is something he said at his trial. His defence seemed to be that he’s a bit cooky. Not a sex-pest. A bit of a silly-billy. Harmless.
He was accused of three different crimes against three women. He had sex with one while she was in custody. He kissed and fondled another while she was in custody. The third had a blanket round her while getting changed and he pulled it down so he could see her breasts.
Not Guilty on all counts. Can’t tell you why. Bit fucking iffy.
Give Us A Snog
In 2011 PC Gareth Roscoe arrested a man for drink driving. The man’s nineteen-year-old girlfriend was with him. She came to the police station. PC Gareth Roscoe was accused by the nineteen-year-old woman of offering to go easy on her boyfriend if she engaged in sexual behaviour with him. PC Gareth Roscoe was accused by the nineteen-year-old woman of groping her breasts, and trying to kiss her.
He was charged and the case went to trial. PC Gareth Roscoe was found Not Guilty.
In 2016 while attending a call, PC Gareth Roscoe asked for a hot drink from a member of the public. A woman. She agreed and invited PC Gareth Roscoe into her home. PC Gareth Roscoe tried to kiss her.
He was found to have engaged in Gross Misconduct and dismissed from the police. Casts a little doubt on the result of his first trial, huh?
I wonder how often cops try to snog the public. PC Gareth Roscoe is not the only cop charged with doing this.
More Miserable Numbers
I’ve been on either end of a rejected kiss. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. But it’s only ever been with peers. There will have been the socialised male/female power dynamics, sure, but I’ve never tried to kiss a stranger at work. It’s never involved one of us having legal authority over another.
Of course, many men feel entitled to women’s bodies despite rejection; the addition of a uniform must only amplify that. Recently I learned men – strangers - will grab women either side of their waists to move them out of the way. If as a society that’s where we’re still at, fuck, man. Women aren’t chairs.
The overall state of successful prosecutions of Sexual Assault by police officers is relatively high at nearly 90% (not counting Unclear or Awaiting Trial).
Many cops are charged with multiple offences, and this is reflected in the total statistics. One officer was charged with five counts of Sexual Assault and was found Not Guilty for all of them. Another was charged with five counts of Sexual Assault, and was found Guilty of all of them.
However, once we remove the two-hundred-and-twenty Sexual Assaults against children from the picture the prosecution rate for cops that attack women drops to 63%, and it’s not clear at all why that is.
Infuriatingly, as with everything I’ve discussed, we only have a few small random parts of the story.
Sexual Assault is woefully underreported for both adults and children. For the year ending March 2020, the Office for National Statistics estimated that 618,000 women were sexually assaulted. 162,936 of these were reported to the police.
For children, there’s currently no way of knowing what the actual scale of the problem is. The ONS’ best estimate is 7.5% of adults aged between 18 and 74 were victims of sexual abuse as children. That’s 3.1 million people. Jesus Christ. For every boy abused, three girls were. If we extrapolate those numbers to the number of people under sixteen currently living in the UK, 12.7 million, we get 952,500. But I don’t know how to work that into an annual figure.
Frequently The Police don’t record data on sex crimes properly, so even the total number recorded against children is a guess by the ONS. 73,260 for the year ending March 2019. We don’t really know how many children are sexually abused every year. Yep.
Then there’s the March 2021 UN finding that 71% of women in the UK have faced some form of sexual harassment from men in public. The number rises to 86% for women aged 18-24.
55% of those women thought their experience wasn’t serious enough to report. 45% thought reporting it wouldn’t help. Again, it’s hard to pull any useful data from these figures, apart from the general lack of faith in society and The Police. The UN definition is as broad as can be. Though that’s not a criticism! Because it’s all unacceptable. It was all serious enough to report to someone. It was all serious enough to be worthy of help. It all fucking matters.
“[The UN] defines sexual harassment as the continuum of violent practices against women and girls. It can take the form of various acts including rape, other aggressive touching, forced viewing of pornography, taking and circulating sexual photographs, as well as verbal sexual conduct. In effect, sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual conduct.”
While it’s not obviously comparable with any of the data I’ve amassed, The Independent submitted a Freedom of Information request to The Metropolitan Police querying how many officers had been accused of “sex attacks” between 2012 and 2018. They found 562 officers were accused of Sexual Assault and only forty-three faced subsequent proceedings. We don’t know how many ended up in court.
Finally, there are the most recent Independent Office for Police Complaints figures. The IOPC claims to publish quarterly reports about complaints for each police force. Except at time of writing – March 2021, the most recent quarterly reports were for Q3 2019. And the most recent annual report was for 2018/19. I can’t see a publication date for the report. It’s all probably completely fine that the IOPC aren’t publishing figures anymore for no obvious reason. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Well, whatever, I guess. Let’s have a looksee at their latest data.
The total number of complaints (not just of a sexual nature) fell for more than half the forces in England and Wales. Only four had an increased number of complaints. Are they getting less shitty? Or just recording fewer complaints? There were 5% fewer in total than the previous year, down to 58,478. But um, well, for that same year there were 123,171 total cops in England and Wales. That’s potentially almost one in two officers being complained about. Right? Probably nothing to worry about.
You know what? Fuck this. I’ve read through the IOPC report I’m referring to twice. It’s self-congratulatory bullshit. It can fuck off. The IOPC provide no real data of any use. The categorisations of complaints are vague. They just sing the praises of their own ability to count things. The vast majority of all complaints are not upheld. And guess who decides whether a complaint should be passed to the IOPC?
The police force being complained about. Because of course it is. What’s even the point of the IOPC?
We already know that the culture in policing is predominantly macho, they look after their own, and Counter Corruption Units only investigate something when they actually have to. They don’t bother looking for things proactively.
Speaking of which.
“If you can’t trust a police officer, then who can you trust?”
This is a question we saw asked a lot in March of 2021 after a cop was accused of kidnapping and murdering a woman. It’s the same question that’s asked in practically all of the cases I’ve described above and below, and the many, many more I haven’t.
Who gets to decide who gets to be a cop? The police, of course.
The vetting standards are… I dunno. Predictable? But the chances are, most people would pass a police vetting. None of the things they vet for are special. Seeing if someone has massive debts and therefore potentially open to bribery, checking whether their mum’s an underworld boss, that kinda thing.
I don’t think they need to be lowered, that’s for sure. I’m not sure how you’d vet for someone’s potential to carry out a sexual assault. The only mention of “sex” in relation to a crime in the vetting standards document is that an applicant to the police isn’t on the sex offenders register. Hooray for the bare minimum… But there’s gotta be more they can do. Someone somewhere knows. And has likely been ignored.
What’s unacceptable, but not that surprising is what HMICFRS found in their previously discussed report on abuse of position for a sexual purpose.
“All 43 forces agreed national vetting standards in 2006. It is not acceptable that there are still people working in forces without the correct vetting for their role. We are deeply concerned about the confusion in some forces as to the vetting levels required for some roles, and how many people still need their vetting status updated.”
In their reports for more than five years now the inspectorate has been specifically instructing, not just recommending, forces to complete vetting for all staff. And still, they haven’t. In the latest report 52% of one force were without the correct vetting.
Oh! One more thing! There’s no national requirement for staff to be vetted when they transfer between forces. So after being accused of the Sexual Assault of a child, PC Ian Naude was able to transfer to a different force. Kidnap a teenage girl. Rape her. And film it.
I wrote this section as an abolitionist. I don’t want The Police reformed. I want them gone. But I recognise that’s not going to happen any time soon. So, the absolute bare minimum that needs doing is finding a better way to keep men who are happy to carry out sexual violence out of policing. As long as these vulnerabilities exist, they’ll keep on being recruited. And it’s gotta be more than the “Have you ever been a member of the BNP?” box they have to try and keep out nazis. Currently anti-fascists are better at vetting cops than the cops. Though that’s not particularly surprising.
You’re All Fired
And now you know how The Police care very little for rooting out their corrupt officers. That it’s incredibly easy for cops to misuse the data they collect, and soon they’ll have access to even more. It should be even clearer that The Police have no interest in treating institutional misogyny with the seriousness it deserves. And the only thing in place to stop men who attack women and children from gaining state sanctioned power is that they haven’t been caught before.
Well, what happens when all of that combines and cops commit the very worst kind of sexual assault?
Writes and reads about horrible things, and turns them into video soup. find him at www.LovelyAlexander.com and follow him at @LovelyAlexanduh
Part 1: The Women They Know
Part 2: The Women They Find
Part 3: The Women They Rape
Download the spreadsheet here: https://we.tl/t-vqccs8iDIm
Sexual violence against women and children. Domestic abuse. Police violence. Violence. Suicide.
Part 1: The Women They Know
Like many people, I am a man. And like many people, I spent much of March 2021 reading stories shared by women covering the spectrum of shitty behaviour they’ve experienced at the hands of men. I am trying to keep the reason why that outpouring happened out of this series. But it should be clear what has inspired it. The memories of her should belong to her family and friends. Her name shouldn’t be used as bait to discuss the horrors below.
The more I think about it, I realise that this terrible piece of society that somehow, we’ve all just let exist forever, isn’t a women’s issue. It affects women, of course. Definitely of course. But in these attacks, the women’s role is simply to exist to satisfy the man. This is a men’s issue.
It is we men who make these choices. It is we who keep leering at you. It is we who keep groping you. It is we who keep assaulting you. It is we who keep raping you. It is we who keep killing you. This is a men’s issue. We make this shit happen.
As of March 2020, 68.8% of UK cops were men.
Policing is a deeply misogynistic institution that refuses to change. This has been pointed out numerous times over the past decade by various inspectors and victims’ groups. Yet all The Police do is pay lip service to the changes recommended. This lack of action has led to corruption, sexual assault, rape, and murder.
In the seventies, women were first permitted to become full blown cops. The numbers have risen since then. But an increase in female officers doesn’t mean The Police don’t hate women.
The Source For the Number in The Title
On my internet travels, I found a list of links to media reports about cops committing crimes. It’s from a source I’d usually dismiss as being dodgy as fuuuck. The author is a Freeman. A special kind of probably-harmless-conspiratorial-looney. “You can’t arrest me ‘cos I know magic words” kinda guy.
The list goes back twelve years. I combed through the nearly one thousand articles, verifying them all, and removed all the cool stuff like cops taking drugs, and stealing stuff from work (pssst if you’re a cop reading this, you should start stealing from work, take loads of drugs, and then quit).
And with the remaining information, I was able to create a spreadsheet with all the charges I could find that were brought against cops for physical or sexual violence against women and children.
Here’s a summary of what I’ve found. Not all the crimes are included on this chart.
What’s immediately clear from looking through this data, is that a recent murder of a woman, allegedly by a cop, is not an exception. What happened to her is particularly brutal. But police officers attack women and children all the time for gratification.
I’m not a data scientist, I’m just a blogger with time on his hands and a limited knowledge of Excel. The biggest insight I can offer is: Why the fuck is no one counting this?
That’s not hyperbole. No one is! Police forces count complaints against their officers, The College of Policing has annual statistics for officers who are fired and the category their offence fits into. But they don’t count which of those ends up in the justice system.
My data just shows the cases that have been charged and then reported on. I will not have found every case which is charged. It will absolutely be incomplete. Male violence against women is widely underreported already and many of the stories I’ve read feature quotes from survivors about fearing reporting a police officer. Or in some cases being threatened with that information by the piece of shit doing the violence.
They’re More Than Just Numbers
Each entry on the spreadsheet represents the courage of a woman or girl who decided to try and do something to stop the man that hurt her. It feels a bit trite to write that, but after reading so much of this bleak, bleak shit I had to find something positive to try and hold on to. For me, it has been their courage.
So, as I show you numbers, please try to remember that each piece of a total is something terrible that happened to somebody. It was real. It was something that affected them enough to brave going to the place where their attacker worked, to the literal source of his power, and telling one of his colleagues. That must have been shit scary. I hate that I can do none of their stories justice. In fact, my focus is very purposefully on the perpetrators and their enablers. I want them to own the terrible things they’ve done. They did it.
From the senior officer who raped two junior officers, to the PC who sent suggestive texts to a fourteen year old girl. It’s all male entitlement and misogyny, inflated by the state, and used in ways to abuse someone else just because she’s a she.
These men made choices to do these horrendous things. Remember that. This was all chosen. And keep in mind that people aren’t charged with every crime they’ve committed, just the ones the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) thinks it’ll successfully prosecute. Most of these cops will be worse than they appear.
Most importantly for understanding the data, I’ve combined crimes into more recognisable labels. There are so many different charges that are basically the same, or have significant overlap. I just think it’s simpler to categorise ‘Indecent Assault’, or ‘Unwanted Sexual Touching’ as Sexual Assault.
I refuse to accept that ‘Buggery’ isn’t Rape. Or indeed ‘Assault by Penetration’. The law may judge differently, but if you assault-by-penetration someone, you’re a fucking rapist in my eyes.
You can find further notes and detail of how I’ve grouped crimes together for easier data wrangling in the Information section of the spreadsheet I used to assemble this data. You can download a copy of the spreadsheet at the bottom of this page.
I haven’t collected data on whether victims or perpetrators belonged to any minority groups. This goes for ethnicity, and for things like sexuality, or if the victim was a cis or trans woman. I would have absolutely collected it, for sure, but details about victims are quite rightly kept out of the press. Generally the only way to tell the officer’s race is if a mugshot is included in the articles I’ve got the data from.
Last on the list of caveats is that a small number of the cops charged over this ten-year period committed their offences decades ago. It’s taken this long to bring them to justice. So, some are historic cases. I do not believe this makes them any less worthy of being counted here. Not least because there’s a high chance that in thirty years cops will be being prosecuted for crimes they’re committing today.
Cops At Home
I’ve heard several times over the years that domestic abuse is much more prevalent in police families. Maybe you have too. Academic literature from the US confirms this isn’t one of those bullshit facts that floats around, with three studies concluding that somewhere between 20% and 40% of families with a police officer experience domestic abuse. The level for a non-cop family is 10%.
You might be thinking “ohh but the Americans are all gun-toting maniacs” which is obviously completely entirely totally true. But also, y’don’t need a gun to hurt somebody else. And cops get training on how to be violent whatever country they’re from. I’ll find a source later. Ahem.
With that bleak statement of fact out of the way, here’s something relatively positive until you think about it for more than a second; I was surprised by how few of the total reported cases were domestic abuse-y in nature. Though limits placed on the media and details they can report might be hiding a higher number.
The category ‘Family or Ex’ is exactly that. And all sixty-five of the charges brought were prosecuted and the perpetrators were found guilty. So that’s good. Or is it? Well, yes.
But also, probably definitely not.
In 2020 The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) brought a super-complaint (‘super-complaint’ is what they’re actually called, very cool) against The Police titled ‘Failure to address police perpetrated domestic abuse’. It discusses at great length the fear and difficulties faced by women who are being, or have been abused by partners in a police force.
While it doesn’t contain much in the way of statistical data, the super-complaint identified common themes amongst all the women they interviewed, more than half of whom also worked for the police. The most common being that the affected women feel doubly powerless. The powerlessness a victim of domestic abuse often feels, but also the man abusing them works for the police, the institution ostensibly there to protect them.
From the CWJ report; “What stands out as a common feature is the potential for improper manipulation and abuse of systems in the suspect’s favour. …Underlying this may be a belief that an officers’ career should not suffer as a result of these kinds of reports.”
I imagine these experiences matched that of a civilian police worker who was for a time the wife of PC Steven Riding. In fact, she became the second ex-wife of PC Steven Riding, who assaulted her repeatedly. Over twenty-two years PC Steven Riding abused three women. A wife, a wife, and a girlfriend.
It seems his girlfriend reported him. PC Steven Riding was found guilty of grabbing her by the neck, slapping her, and kicking her. PC Steven Riding’s second wife said he did similar violence to her. She spoke of having to wear a scarf to work to cover up the bruising around her throat left by PC Steven Riding.
The story doesn’t say whether she tried to report him. But eight years with a man like PC Steven Riding, who was content to regularly strangle her, and punch her, can’t have been easy or empowering. She said at his trial:
“I was nervous giving evidence and discussing parts of my private life. But it’s a necessary evil to ensure his proven violent behaviour stops. It was important for me to attend to try to in some way form a closure on a difficult and stressful chapter.”
I hate this. They separated in 2010 and he was tried in 2016. PC Steven Riding, trying to cling to power, denied the charges and so forced her to give evidence and relive her trauma.
Of the thirty-nine physical assault charges against women I’ve found, fifteen were committed by PC Steven Riding. The rest?
One was against a colleague. Four were against a partner. And six were against an ex.
PC Stuart Doran got dumped. That must’ve sucked. But we all get dumped at some point. It hurts. It leaves us confused. We write rambling mushy nonsense, drink ice-cream and beer in equal measure, send secretly hopeful texts and blah blah blah etc etc you know how breakups go. Most importantly, we get over them. It just takes a little time.
She was at a party. He wasn’t invited. PC Stuart Doran spent the night drinking. PC Stuart Doran turned up at the party he wasn’t invited to. PC Stuart Doran pushed her onto a bed. PC Stuart Doran straddled her. PC Stuart Doran grabbed her by the neck. PC Stuart Doran punched her in the face.
PC Stuart Doran punched her in the face again. PC Stuart Doran punched her in the face again. And again. And again. And again. And again.
PC Stuart Doran put his hands over her mouth and nose, cutting off her breathing. PC Stuart Doran leant forwards bringing his face closer to hers. PC Stuart Doran clenched her cheek between his teeth. PC Stuart Doran bit down hard and tore.
His victim? A fellow police officer. I hope she got a warmer reception on her return to work than this officer mentioned in the CWJ super complaint did:
“After her initial report of abuse … she returned from sick leave, bullying began: a wooden cross marked “in remembrance” was left in her tray, comments were made implying she was mad, three male officers drove with her to a forest in the early hours, suggested a cigarette break then drove away leaving her alone for 30-45 minutes. She was sexually harassed by another officer but when she told him to stop, her senior reprimanded her for upsetting him.”
It's Just Banter
With those kind of responses to a colleague who had been a victim of domestic abuse, no wonder it took three years for the victim of Detective Constable Nick Gravenor to report him for a sexual assault.
For several months while at work, DC Nick Gravenor told his junior female colleague that she had a “nice bum”. DC Nick Gravenor told his female colleague what he liked sexually.
On the day that DC Nick Gravenor attacked her, his victim had just ended a relationship with another man, and had recently been bereaved. In her own words, she was vulnerable.
DC Nick Gravenor forced his mouth against hers. DC Nick Gravenor pulled off her top. DC Nick Gravenor pulled off her bra. DC Nick Gravenor touched her inappropriately. DC Nick Gravenor made her afraid that she was about to be raped.
I wonder if DC Nick Gravenor and his male colleagues ever described the woman he assaulted as “job fit”. Apparently in The Police that’s what male officers call female officers who look good both in and out of their uniform.
I wonder if DC Nick Gravenor discussed with his male colleagues if the woman he attacked was “getting any cock?” Just like a team of five officers were caught doing, in their office, along with a whole bunch more sexist and racist comments.
Having read the CWJ super-complaint, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d done both;
“The concerns raised in this super-complaint should be seen in the context of a broader culture of ‘institutionalised sexism’ within the police service that condones and trivialises violence against women.”
Of the nine charged killings of women and girls by police officers I found, one is awaiting trial. The remaining eight resulted in the man being found guilty or were part of a murder suicide. Six wives. One ex-wife. One ex-lover. And one daughter.
All these cases are horrible. They all stick out in some way. How could they not?
Inspector Darren McKie’s wife was a police officer. Inspector Darran McKie strangled her.
Detective Constable Peter Foster’s wife was a police officer. DC Peter Foster beat her over the head with a baseball bat and stabbed her in the throat.
I could only guess at whether these were the miserable finales of domestic abuse.
Inspector Toby Day had just been fired for “misusing police systems and matters concerning honesty and integrity”. A few days later Toby Day strangled his six-year-old daughter. Toby Day stabbed her three times in the chest. Then Toby Day strangled his wife. Toby Day stabbed her four times. Toby Day stabbed his sixteen-year-old daughter in the neck. She survived. Toby Day stabbed his fourteen-year-old son in the chest. He survived.
DC Ivan Esack
In 2010 Detective Constable Ivan Esack, resigned from the police because he was bored. No, really. That’s not a joke.
In February 2012, after years of abuse, Ivan Esack and his wife separated. In April 2012 Ivan Esack walked into his ex-wife’s hair salon and stabbed her eleven times in the neck and chest. As Ivan Esack walked out, he said “She deserved it, the bitch”.
Before Ivan Esack murdered his ex-wife, he harassed and stalked her. She reported him to the police several times, but decided not to press charges because she didn’t want to damage his reputation. Ivan Esack sent her text messages saying “Death, death, death”.
She got a new boyfriend. Seven weeks before Ivan Esack murdered her, Ivan Esack walked into her hair salon and strangled her until she passed out. At Ivan Esack’s trial, her boyfriend described her state of mind in the weeks between the attacks; “She was a nervous wreck and absolutely petrified.”
Her boyfriend testified that she said, “[Ivan Esack] would do her family”.
One of the BBC articles about the trial of Ivan Esack begins with this line: “[Her] determination not to get her violent former husband Ivan into trouble ultimately cost her her life.”
Ivan Esack wasn’t a cop when he killed his ex-wife, but he had been for seven years. During the investigation, police learned Ivan Esack was verbally and physically assaulting her while he was a police officer. When Ivan Esack killed her, he was barely two years out of the police. Did he still have contacts in the police? Did Ivan Esack use his position as a police officer to scare her into silence? According to the Centre for Women’s Justice, this is typical behaviour of a police officer who is also a perpetrator of domestic abuse.
After Ivan Esack’s trial for murder, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fotheringham told the BBC; “We take every incident very seriously and we won’t just look for the evidence provided from the person suffering. We look for evidence around it to see if we can support them.”
In 2014 a review of the case reported back. It stated The Police did nothing in the face of mounting evidence in the months before Ivan Esack stabbed her to death. That The Police did nothing when they could have arrested Ivan Esack for the charge of ‘Sending Malicious Communications’. The Police did nothing when she told them that Ivan Esack had threatened to harm himself. The Police did nothing after investigating and finding that friends and family had information about the ongoing abuse Ivan Esack inflicted on her. The Police did nothing when she reported Ivan Esack had turned up at her new home with a knife. The Police did nothing when Ivan Esack strangled her in public.
The Police did fucking nothing.
It’s unclear if The Police knew of Ivan Esack’s behaviour while he was employed by them. But the events leading up to and the eventual murder of his ex-wife make me wonder if they’d have even cared. Here’s a quote from the CWJ’s super-complaint:
“We are particularly concerned about the conclusion that because conduct took place in an officer’s private life there is no potential for misconduct. In one of the cases cited the Professional Standards Department stated that the officer had discredited himself but not discredited the police service.”
Domestic Abuse is NBD, Actually
I combined the latest sets of domestic abuse figures for England and Wales (excluding Greater Manchester, who were having computer problems - seriously), Scotland, and Northern Ireland. They totalled 1,380,507 reports to The Police, and of that first number 802,804 were recorded as crimes.
These of course are only the abuses that were reported. From what we have seen so far, it is likely the numbers don’t include those of women partnered with police officers.
Since putting together the spreadsheet the bulk of this series is based on, seeing large numbers related to violence printed like that has really started to affect me. I entered more than 1300 violent crimes by hand. I read about each one. Imagined the horror each time. It’s a small number compared to the total above. But I feel I can at least begin to comprehend the sheer amount of fear and suffering numbers like that represent. In the reports the domestic abuse numbers are from, when I read lines like “Domestic abuse has remained relatively stable in…” it starts to overwhelm me. The detachment of statisticians, innocent though it may be, is infuriating. Enough about me.
“I want to fuck you”.
David Temkin, the lawyer defending Detective Constable Michael McMillan said that “[McMillan] was never threatening or violent towards the complainants.”
“I want to fuck you”
Is what the message said, sent by DC Michael McMillan to the victim of a domestic violence case he was investigating. DC Michael McMillan then demanded “indecent pictures”. She refused.
DC Michael McMillan recommended no further action be taken against the first, nameless man who had attacked her. DC Michael McMillan said that she was unwilling to help the police with their enquiries and had retracted her statement.
DC Michael McMillan was a police officer trained specially to handle complaints and victims of domestic violence.
DC Michael McMillan convinced a rape victim that she should retract her complaint against the nameless man who raped her. Even though she didn’t want to. DC Michael McMillan lied to her and told her he was arranging protection for her from the first nameless man who attacked her.
DC Michael McMillan abused his position of power, and convinced two domestic abuse victims to have sex with him. DC Michael McMillan sent sexts and lewd pictures to victims of domestic abuse. DC Michael McMillan regularly demanded naked pictures from domestic abuse victims.
David Temkin, the lawyer defending DC Michael McMillan said that “[McMillan] was never threatening or violent towards the complainants.”
David Temkin can suck my whole entire ass. Explain to me how there aren’t threats or violence in the actions of DC Michael McMillan, the man charged with protecting women from other men who had already done violence to them.
The threats implicit in not complying with DC Michael McMillan’s demands are clear. The disparity in power between police officer and abuse victim are clear. The threat implicit in the demands made by a man such as DC Michael McMillan are clear. Do what I want, or I will not stop more of the violence you have already suffered. It’s my abuse, or another man’s abuse. Choose.
One of the first concerns in the CWJ super-complaint are reports from domestic abuse professionals afraid that officers believed to be perpetrators of domestic abuse are working in public protection roles dealing with victims of domestic and sexual abuse. While there is no indication that DC Michael McMillan abused his wife or daughters, what might a man who does perpetrate domestic abuse to his family do to a vulnerable woman who has asked him for help? What might he be doing now?
Corrupt As Fuck
As you’ve seen, misogyny runs deep through British policing. There’s fear within its own ranks to report men who sexually assault their colleagues. There’s indifference when a cop is suspected of abusing his wife. There’s outright hostility towards some victims. There’s failure after failure after failure.
It's sadly predictable that there’s a lot more to this story. A lot more women and children have been hurt. A lot more women and children have been let down. A lot more women and children have been scared into sexual exploitation by a man wielding state power for his own violent means.
Unless The Police get their act together and/or abolish themselves, we’ll never know how many. I have some numbers on the cops that have been caught. But like with domestic abuse, they are very bad at catching their officers when they abuse their position for a sexual purpose.
In most cases, they’re not even looking.
Writes and reads about horrible things, and turns them into video soup. find him at www.LovelyAlexander.com and follow him at @LovelyAlexanduh
Part 1: The Women They Know
Part 2: The Women They Find
Part 3: The Women They Rape
Download the spreadsheet here: https://we.tl/t-vqccs8iDIm
On the 9th of January, Mohamud Mohammed Hassan was murdered by the South Wales Police in Cardiff. Communities across the city soon rallied to oppose this blatant, horrible act of racism, with a fundraiser for Mohamud's family reaching its goal of £30,000 within two days, and the hashtag '#Justice4Mohamud' quickly spreading like wildfire throughout social media. The most overt response was, however, a series of large protests outside the Cardiff Bay police station from the 12th until the 16th of January. The response of the police and the media to both Mohamud's death and to the protests provide a damning exposure of the role of both of these institution in, and their allegiance to, a racist, colonialist system.
The police, as expected, explicitly denied any role in Mohamud's death, even going so far as to lie and state that there was no evidence that Mohamud being physically injured in any manner; this lie was later exposed by a later report from an independent investigation. The media assisted the police in this lie, and continues to downplay the severity of this event, by refusing to state that Mohamud was murdered by the police, instead stating only that he 'died after being held in police custody' in a poorly veiled attempt to distance the police from Mohamud's death; some may attempt to justify this phrasing as no more than an attempt to maintain neutrality, but, in situations of evident and extreme oppression like this, neutrality can be nothing more but allegiance to the oppressors.
The protests were large, vocal and unrelenting in their criticisms of not only South Wales police, but of policing as an institution. They, acting in accordance with the wishes of Mohamud's family, remained entirely non-violent, yet, due to the challenge that they posed to the police, they were treated in a disproportionate and aggressive manner, with around 250 police officers being present at the protest on the 16th; this number of officers is completely unprecedented in recent history, and I have personally seen far, far larger demonstrations of thousands of people in Cardiff being policed by no more than a dozen officers. The police deliberately targeted black people, walking past white protesters, in order to threaten them with fines for breaching the restrictions on mass gatherings that have been placed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; this threatening behaviour continued outside of the protest, with protesters being intimidated, followed and fined as they walked home, and one organiser, Bianca Ali, had her home invaded by two van-loads of police officers in riot gear in an obvious act of state repression and authoritarianism. Bianca received a fine of £500, which was later doubled to £1000, but, thankfully, community solidarity resulted in this money being raised within a few days. The surveillance of protesters was also obvious, with police liaison officers attempting, with a false, friendly guise, to gather information about the protests, and with cameras being constantly used to record the protests. Even beyond this frankly horrifying repression, the behaviour of the police at the protest was atrocious and disrespectful; officers were recorded laughing at and mocking the protesters, and one officer even jokingly confessed to murdering Mohamud.
The media did nothing to expose or report on the police's atrocities and did everything in their power to portray the protests as violent riots, playing on the racist stereotype of black people as aggressive thugs or criminals in an attempt to delegitimise the protests; Wales Online used a deliberately provocative picture to misrepresent the protests, and the headline from the Daily Express read “Furious protests erupt in Cardiff as angry crowds hurl smoke bombs at police”. The use of smoke bombs was a brief, harmless event which posed no threat to anyone, and, whilst it is undeniable that many of the protesters were angry (and rightfully so!), 'furious' is hardly a suitable word to apply to a controlled, relatively peaceful event. In fact, the majority of the major media outlets reported on the use of smoke-bombs, whilst very few of them reported on the speeches, arguments and demands of the protests.
These disgusting behaviours displayed by both the police and the media are a direct result of their vested interest in preserving racism. The police in the UK were formed in order to maintain oppressive class relations by attacking organising working class people and violently enforcing private property relations, and they were soon modelled after their Amerikan counterparts, who were the direct institutional descendants of slave patrols; as a result, the police is fundamentally racist and classist, and will always serve to intimidate, attack and oppress those marginalised in society in order to coerce their subservience to the unjust system that exploits them everyday for the benefit of the rich and powerful. Major media outlets in a capitalist system are necessarily owned by rich and powerful people, the same people who benefit from this exploitative system and, therefore, have a vested interest in combatting the anti-racist efforts that would necessarily challenge this system. Any honest reporting of the protests would undermine the ideology that upholds the current neoliberal system, and would expose many people to its horrors, so instead dishonest reporting is used to undermine support for the protests and, by extension, the struggle against racism; despite the best efforts by some to keep the protest's respectable, there simply never was a chance of the corporate media reporting positively on the protests.
Mohamud was only 24 years old, he had a family and his whole life ahead of him. That was robbed from him by a racist institution that has been operating for centuries, claiming thousands upon thousands of innocent lives. His death was, and remains, a tragedy, and we must do everything in our power to ensure that Mohamud is the last person killed through the brutality of the police. As these events have proven, this can only be achieved through the abolition of the police, who are irredeemably racist and beyond any hope of 'reform'. As these events have also proven, we cannot expect any help in this struggle from corporate media, which has a vested interest in ensuring the continued existence of systemic racism. However, these events have proven that we can expect help from our communities, those who we struggle and fight alongside on a day-to-day basis. Together, we can fight for, and we can win, a better world! ■
If you can afford to, please do consider donating money to Mohamud's family: https://gofund.me/bb087bb7
Written by a Federation member.