And we're off - welcome to our third webinar. Who's policing the police? We're joined by @nazirafzal @jessphillips @jamieklingler & @PoliceMeToo #WhosPolicing We're live Tweeting this event - but you can also catch up on YouTube!
The context of this event is important. Last year, women across the UK came together to mourn the death of Sarah Everard, a young woman who was callously murdered by Wayne Couzens - a serving police officer.
This triggered a nation-wide debate about police culture, the further breakdown in the relationship between women and the police, and a vigil which ended in the further perpetuating of state-based misogyny.
We attempted to “Reclaim the night” to reclaim our streets - but reclaim from who? The dark reality is that we attempted to reclaim it not just from men, but from the police too.
The antipathy that many women felt towards the police during this time was nothing new. For decades, black and ethnic minority women have faced prejudice, discrimination, and even violence at the hands of state authorities.
Recently, @tortoise held an event on police culture. here, a former Assistant Commissioner at the Met said that stereotypes about policing meant that bullies and predators were attracted to sign-up. Some 35,000 police staff had not been adequately vetted when they joined.
We’ve seen in recent weeks the fact that prestigous institutions continue to claim that forms of discrimination are “banter”. Perhaps this too contributes to an environment where any and every kind of violence - physical, political - is normalised.
This isn’t just “turning a blind eye” but actively standing by or standing with perpetrators of abuse.
Nowhere was this more keenly felt than with the policing of Sarah Everard’s vigil, held in Clapham Common some days after it emerged that she had been murdered.This was an event designed to highlight the solidarity that exists between women - to demonstrate our right to walk home
Our first speaker @jamieklingler now outlines the timeline that followed the arrangements made by feminist groups after the murder of Sarah Everard.She attended a 15 minute meeting with Cressida Dick.Jamie asked her - what would you do differently?The answer was akin to "nothing"
The detail that @jamieklingler struggles with most is that W***e C*****s used his Police ID Card - and the police knew about this for months before it was made public. No new strategy was put in place. Have you ever tried to wave down a bus?
"Without admitting that there's something wrong, you don't get better".
"1 in 10 officers guilty of gross misconduct stay on in the UK".

"I had nothing to do with the Police before this... I couldn't be quiet anymore." - @jamieklingler
Jamie discusses the murders of Bibaa & Nicole and highlights the inhumanity of police officers. @DrProudman adds that lifelong anonymity after serious sexual assaults nearly makes it feel like the state is colluding with perpetrators.
@jessphillips reminded the Commons that killed women are not “rare”. Rather, by reading out the names of all women killed in the previous year, she showed that violence against women is “common”. They are acts of terrorism.
Jess says that there has been change in the country - but not in the Commons.

"Even before the killing of Sarah Everard and my reading of the names, I think that because of the pandemic there was a growing understanding of being locked in your home".
Who polices the police? "The problem lies in the systems that are meant to be put in place to police the police (the Home Secretary and PM)". Theresa May, Jess reminds us, was aware of the issues - and raised them. Including concerns about Police Officers.
Jess details the lack of monitoring of repeat sexual offenders. "If I were to tell you the same about terrorists - the idea that the police weren't monitoring them closely... the British public would be aghast and rightly so."
The problems arise when "we don't have a political system that has willingness to act on the things that are going wrong...". 1.6 million cases of DA reported. Only about 20% will face serious consequences.
"Ultimately it is the responsibility of our government to take VAWG seriously. What has changed after SE is the fact there are a number of inquiries going on... Some will look at broader failings." These inquiries largely focus on the Met. But abuse happens across the country.
Jess tells us that she has been told that - sometimes serving officers who are accused of sexual assault remain in their job in order to guarantee "value for money for the tax payer".
@jessphillips "Stop clutching your chests and tilting your heads - make ending VAWG a political priority."

Right now women are worth less than cars within the political system.
@jessphillips @nazirafzal Nazir says he's prosecuted hundreds of murders and femicides. He's seen the worst of humanity.

"I've spent over 20 years in justice and the vast majority of Police Officers have worked incredibly hard throught their careers. But amongst those people was that man."
@jessphillips @nazirafzal Nazir says that vetting was an issue. This individual had been at multiple police forces. Nobody seemed worried about his reputation.

"Should police take an integrity test?" Nazir asks.
@jessphillips @nazirafzal "We heard in the immediate aftermath of the sentencing that female POs knew about institutional misogyny in their forces. They were prevented from speaking up."
@jessphillips @nazirafzal Witnesses must be protected.
@jessphillips @nazirafzal In October a Met Police officer was dissmissed for underpaying 90p. His dishonesty would have been disclosed in future cases. Sexual assault, however, isn't seen as a red line.

That's nonsensical.
@jessphillips @nazirafzal We know from our work that predators will find roles and positions that give them access to vulnerable people. The systems don't allow those people to be sifted out.
@jessphillips @nazirafzal Confidence in policing is pretty much at an all time low. Women don't know if police officers would take them seriously. They fear not being believed - or being retraumatised.
Nazir details two important changes after the Rochdale Sex Trafficking scandal. 1. Don't investigate the victim like they are the perpetrator. 2. Support the victim.
The government's resonse has been inadequate. "Give them street light - at least then they can see who's following them home".

We must recognise the role of men in dealing with this. The focus on the Met means that other police forces think the pressure is off. It's not.
@DrProudman says that the stats from our poll are shocking. Only 17% of our respondents said they would go to the police after sexual harassment or abuse.
Last up, it's @PoliceMeToo.
@PoliceMeToo Freya tells our audience her story. We support survivors however we can - and thank Freya for her openness.
Freya details her physical and sexual abuse as well as controlling behaviour from her husband, a Police Officer.

This impacted upon Freya's work. Her boss asked her if she was ok. He was the first person she told.
Abuse continued after separation and during divorce proceedings.

Freya reported this to the police. This amounted to nothing.

"We cannot have you bring the force into disrepute".
The Police told Freya that her abuse at the hands of her husband was just "rough sex".

The police did not relay vital information about the safety of her son.
Freya says - "I have been repeatedly victimised. And there's nowhere for me to go. Other people report to the Police. But where do I go? I know they harbour rapists."
"I set up Police Me Too because this has destroyed my life."
"Justice is denied by the justice system because they are the one causing the injustices.

I wanted to change it. I know I can't do that alone. Tragically we know from the work of the Femicide Census, that there are women killed by Police Officers."
Freya says that Sarah Everard's death quickly changed from being an act of police violence to "VAWG by a former-police officer".
We thank Freya for highlighting the complexities of the Police's relationship with and role in perpetuating VAWG.

Next we move to a short Q & A. How can we ensure that every police force is held to account?
Nazir says victims are looking at all Police Forces. We need to put pressure on Police and Crime Commissioners. They need to be told "just do it" - don't wait for it.

Jamie details the fury felt by groups when one Commissioner said that SE "submitted" to her arrest.
Women being more "street smart" is not the answer.

Freya adds that "we can't just concentrate on the Met and one officer." This is a story that spans decades.
Q&A: Should misogyny be a hate crime?

Nottingham police led a pilot scheme and provided statistics related to this. What did we learn from this?

Nazir personally believes it should be a hate crime. The Government, does not.

Jamie highlights the fact that change is needed...
in ALL forces. "Once again women are not a priority".
Nazir says that part of the reason why it isn't a hate crime yet is because of money. The sheer number of incidents would be costly.

Nazir says the government's response was akin to "Women. We can't afford them".

@DrProudman That is not a legitimate answer.
@nazirafzal points out that investing in treating misogyny as a hate crime would mean investing now to save in the future.

Misogyny-related crime is linked to all other sorts of crime.
@nazirafzal @nazirafzal - The best training is survivor led.
Final question: Should VAWG be treated as a form of terrorism?

@jamieklingler says "yes". The whole of society is made better when women are safer.

@nazirafzal calls this "gender terrorism". We then begin to focus on the perpetrators not just the victims.
@nazirafzal if we saw this as gender terrorism, Nazir suggests, we could work on prevention. Violent men are "radicalised".

@DrProudman draws the event to a close.
Thank you to all of our guests - @jamieklingler @nazirafzal @jessphillips @PoliceMeToo.

Our biggest thanks goes to the inspirational and powerful Freya.

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