It’s not just the Metropolitan Police who are failing survivors so as part of our work for these 16 days of global action against gender-based violence, we’ve produced this short expose on Dorset Police.
Justice for Gaia has spoken out publicly about our local force’s concerning failure to provide survivors with the specialist support they need and effectively prosecute sexual violence in our local area. Dorset Police has one of the UK’s worst conviction rates and no specialist rape unit. In 2020 they only pressed charges in 28 of the 782 rape reports they received. According to data obtained by Justice for Gaia via a Freedom of Information request, of 2058 sexual offences recorded by the Dorset Police 2019-2020, only 46 resulted in criminal charges.
* Content Warning: contains descriptions of assault and sexual violence *
- In January 2022, another Dorset police officer was found guilty of gross misconduct for sexually harassing female colleagues and “would have been dismissed by the force had he not already resigned.”
- In November 2021, a former civil servant working for the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner was jailed for grooming underage girls online.
- In November 2021, a Dorset superintendent was found guilty of gross misconduct after claiming thousands of pounds of false expenses. Not a gender-based violence issue but still it doesn’t inspire much confidence, does it?
- In October 2021 a Dorset police officer was set to face gross misconduct charges related to the Sarah Everard investigation.
- In October 2020 a Dorset police officer strangled a local nurse, Claire Parry, to death and was convicted for manslaughter.
- In October 2020 a Dorset police inspector was found guilty of gross misconduct for abusing his position to engage in sexual activity with members of the public and Dorset Police.
- In February 2020 Katrina O’Hara was beaten to death by her ex after Dorset police took her phone and, according to her family, swept her fears for her life “under the carpet.”
- And a police detective was sacked for sexually assaulting a female colleague.
- In January 2020 two more Dorset police officers were found guilty of gross misconduct after they falsified reports to cover up their failure to properly safeguard a victim of domestic abuse.
- In February 2019 another Dorset police officer groomed a domestic abuse victim and coerced her into a sexual relationship.
- In June 2019 Sharon Perett was killed by her abusive partner shortly after Dorset Police stopped checking in with her ‘because her phone was off’.
- 2015-2019 there were 13 arrests of Dorset Police staff for crimes including assault and rape but most of these cases were dropped with no disciplinary action.
Click here to access an interactive map of sexual and violent crime in the Dorset area. These are the most frequently reported crimes in many Dorset towns.
In January 2022, another Dorset police officer was found guilty of gross misconduct for sexually harassing female colleagues and “would have been dismissed by the force had he not already resigned.” An internal investigation established that between 2019 and 2021 he had made a large number of harassing comments of a sexual nature to female colleagues around the force directly in person and via messages, and sexually assaulted multiple women.
A FORMER civil servant who worked for the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner has been jailed for repeatedly engaging in sexual communications with two underage ‘girls’.
Jason Rory Samuel Mumford, aged 47, thought he was messaging a 12-year-old girl named ‘Toby’ and a 13-year-old girl named ‘Paris’ – sending them videos of himself performing sexual acts and also inviting them to perform lewd acts on themselves.
In November 2021, a Dorset superintendent was found guilty of gross misconduct after claiming thousands of pounds of false expenses. Not a gender-based violence issue but still it doesn’t inspire much confidence, does it?
October 2021 – The officer posted details of an interview given by Couzens before he pled guilty to the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, which the police watchdog says may “have brought discredit on the police service and potentially interfered with the course of justice.”
October 2020 – The trial heard the injuries would have resulted from significant force to the neck for a minimum 10 to 30 seconds and possibly longer. As a “trained and experienced” road traffic police officer, Brehmer would have known Parry was seriously injured yet did nothing to help her, the judge said. He could not have thought, as he said in his police interview, she was “simply taking a breath”, the judge added. “You must have known that her body had gone limp after your assault on her. Before you walked to the car park entrance you must have seen how she was hanging half out of the car.”
Parry had “fought hard” against Brehmer, “if only for a short while”. Brehmer had stabbed himself three times with a penknife. The judge said he had sought at the scene to blame Parry for stabbing him, lying to police and others at the time. “These lies were in my view particularly serious,” the judge added, given Brehmer’s job.
May 2020 – AN INSPECTOR carried out a “fundamental betrayal” to the public and policing when he abused his position as an officer to engage in sexual activity with members of the public and Dorset Police.
February 2020 – “The family of hairdresser Katrina O’Hara today slammed the police for their ‘serious failings’ that allowed her violent ex-boyfriend to murder her. Ms O’Hara’s three children said they will ‘always feel let down’ by police who they suggested had brushed their mother’s fears about Stuart Thomas ‘under the carpet’.”
February 2020 – The most serious allegation involved the officer turning up at the woman’s flat unannounced where he sexually assaulted her. After being let in he grabbed hold of the woman, kissed her and then lifted her up onto the breakfast bar. He then removed her top and bra, touched her breasts and ‘dry humped’ her. The woman feared the detective would rape her.
January 2020 – When the officers arrived they discovered the woman was at the address with a man who was prevented from contacting her and from being at the address by the conditions of a non-molestation order. The man was liable to be arrested if found in breach of the order.
The officers spoke with the woman and the man at the address and made the decision not to arrest forming the view that there was no risk to the woman. The police log report following the officer’s attendance at the address was updated by PC White with false and inaccurate information. It recorded that the man was not present at the address.
August 2019 – A study by Newsquest’s data investigations unit found that 13 officers or members of staff were arrested in Dorset between May 2015 and 2019. Rape, burglary and assault are among the crimes employees were apprehended over, the investigation found. However, of 13 arrests, nine cases (69 per cent) were dropped and the employee faced no criminal or disciplinary action.
June 2019 – Police stopped trying to call an abuse victim shortly before she was murdered by her partner because her phone was off, an inquiry has found. Sharon Perrett, 37, was beaten to death by Daniel O’Malley-Keyes at her home in Christchurch, Dorset, in August.
February 2019 – BBC 5 Live Investigates spoke to Yvonne, not her real name, who was a long-term victim of domestic violence. After her husband attacked both her and her daughter during an incident in 2013, she called 999. When Dorset Police came to her home, one of the attending officers began to groom Yvonne. “He said a beautiful woman like you shouldn’t be treated like this. He started texting me, complimenting me, he was very persuasive,” she told the BBC.
Yvonne and the Dorset PC had a sexual relationship over the next six months, but she says she felt taken advantage of and used. She ended the affair, but says the officer would continue to come to her home unannounced, wearing his police uniform.
“I felt threatened. He said if anyone found out, the court case (for her husband’s domestic violence) would have to start all over again.”
December 2014 – Due to a backlog of cases in the Safeguarding Referral Unit the HMIC believed this meant ‘potentially vulnerable victims were either waiting an unacceptable time for services or missed altogether’, and because of concern that the Force’s definition of vulnerability was too narrow.