Several employees are still working at Bedfordshire Police despite being accused of domestic abuse, figures reveal.
The statistics, obtained in an investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and ITV, reveal over 1,300 police officers and staff across the UK were reported for domestic abuse between January 2018 and September last year.
They included eight in Bedfordshire Police – and six of them were still in a job with the force towards the end of last year, when the freedom of information requests were sent out.
Of those reported for domestic abuse, one was disciplined, one convicted of domestic abuse and one removed from their role.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dee Perkins from Bedfordshire Police said: “Domestic abuse is a crime and there are both misconduct and criminal proceedings that must be followed for our officers and our staff. For transparency, we ask another force to investigate these matters on our behalf.
“The public should rightly hold us to the highest standards and we must uphold them. Sadly, a small minority fall foul of the high standards we set and our response is both robust and professional when this happens.
“Our professional standards department (PSD) has domestic abuse in policing as a priority and a strategy in place that addresses all of the concerns raised in a recent super complaint on domestic abuse.
“PSD also has champions in partner agencies to encourage people to come forward and guard against any perceived protection of suspects from within policing.
“In terms of these investigations, crime allegations are of the utmost priority, while a case of gross misconduct, which can lead to dismissal, will always be presented anywhere that evidential test is met.
“In Bedfordshire we have a strong focus on tackling domestic abuse in partnership with our local authorities, charities and other non-government organisations.
“We have set up a support group, Blue Bell, to provide ongoing support to officers and staff, and we have increased our number of victim engagement officers to provide bespoke support to victims of domestic abuse from report to court.
“We also work closely with the Bedfordshire Victim Care Service to provide additional support and signposting.”
Ruth Davison, the CEO of Refuge, said: “I can’t overstate how serious this is. Domestic abuse is fundamentally about power and control, the abuse of power.
"And police officers do have power — they’re supposed to use that for our benefit to uphold the law and to keep us safe.”