Sexual Harassment in the Police Service

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2018 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
4 September 2018

Following the publication of the London School of Economics report on Sexual Harassment in the police service (Time to Stamp out Sexual Harassment) 16th August 2018), this conference notes with concern that the research shows clearly that:

1)Those experiencing sexual harassment amongst police staff are greater than in other sectors;

2) Operational police staff are more likely than their non-operational colleagues to have witnessed, or experienced sexual harassment;

3) The presence of sexualised banter predicted that more serious forms of sexual harassment were more likely to occur;

4) Police staff are suffering stress as a result of exposure to sexual harassment.

Conference recognises that sexual harassment in the police service is unacceptable and shall not be tolerated.

Conference reminds all forces that they have a duty of care to their employees and are legally liable for any sexual harassment which takes place at work, particularly if they have failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.

In light of the LSE research published on the 16th August 2018 , Conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to work with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), the College of Policing, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and other relevant police stakeholders to seek to:

a)Develop an action plan to root out, and create a zero tolerance policy towards all sexual harassment in the police service; such an action plan to include:

i)A personal commitment from police leaders;

ii) The refresh of anti-harassment policies to make explicit the prohibition on sexual harassment;

iii) Appropriate training for managers and supervisors within the police service;

iv) A review of reporting mechanisms to ensure that staff are confident in their ability to report any sexual harassment without fear of reprisal or victimisation;

v) Regular evaluation of the effectiveness of action against sexual harassment via regular Police Staff surveys on dignity at work.

b) Mainstream work to tackle sexual harassment in the NPCC led project on Wellbeing;

c) Ensure that the need to tackle sexually exploitative behaviour inside the police workforce is included in the eventual strategy on Appropriate Workplace Behaviour utilising the findings of the LSE research.

d) Liaise with UNISON’s training department to explore the best way to ensure that Police Staff representatives are appropriately trained in dealing with sexual harassment cases;

f) Encourage branches to work constructively with police forces to negotiate effective policies and procedures to tackle sexual harassment;

g) Encourage branches to seek to ensure that force level policies to tackle sexual harassment are regularly reviewed and monitored.