Several allegations of sexual assault have been made against serving male officers in Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset and Wiltshire Police over the last five years, figures reveal.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there is “a massive job” to be done in restoring women’s confidence in police after the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer.

Scroll down to find the figures for your force area.


Figures obtained by RADAR under the Freedom of Information Act show seven sexual assault complaints were made against male Gloucestershire Constabulary officers between 2016 and 2020.

Of the complaints where action was taken, one resulted in a written warning and another in management action.

The claims were not founded in four cases. The largest proportion (three) had a result of "no case to answer", while in one it was deemed that “acceptable service” had been provided by the officer.

Meanwhile, one was subject of a disapplication, which means it may no longer be dealt with under complaints legislation.

The data does not specify if the officers were on or off duty at the time the alleged incidents occurred.

The sex of the person making the accusation was also unknown in each case.

The data from Gloucestershire Constabulary was in response to a request for the number of complaints of sexual assaults against serving police officers.

Complaints could relate to historic allegations.

Of the cases against officers in the force between 2016 and 2020, two came from the members of the public and five from colleagues.

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Police said: "Gloucestershire Constabulary has a robust and dedicated Professional Standards Department and Anti-Corruption Unit and is committed to investigating all allegations of sexual misconduct.

"The most serious cases result in gross misconduct hearings overseen by a legally qualified independent chairperson and sanctions can include dismissal.

"Within the Constabulary we are working hard to address any misogynistic behaviour and attitudes.

"We audit work devices and other available data to identify any inappropriate communications and regularly run awareness campaigns with staff to educate them around the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

"We are also planning bystander intervention training to help colleagues understand how to intervene if they witness inappropriate behaviour and have an anonymous reporting tool on our intranet where we ask anyone to report any issues or concerning behaviour they have witnessed so we can investigate.

"However we recognise that there is still much work to be done and would encourage members of the public to come forward with any concerns about officers or staff."

Avon and Somerset

Twelve sexual assault complaints were made by the public against Avon and Somerset Constabulary officers in the same period.

Due to cases involving more than one officer, they related to 15 officers – although an officer could also be involved in more than one case.

Most were against male officers (11), while two were against females and two were against unidentified officers.

One complaint against an officer had a case to answer, which resulted in a dismissal.

Meanwhile, seven were not upheld and in four it was deemed that “acceptable service” had been provided by the officer.

In a further three, the claim was withdrawn or removed.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: "We are committed to providing the public with the highest standards of service. When the conduct of an officer or member of police staff appears to fall below these high standards, our Professional Standards Department (PSD) will robustly investigate and if necessary, take action.

"Should an officer or member of police staff be accused of a serious wrongdoing or criminal behaviour then the matter will be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The IOPC may decide to direct an investigation or independently investigate and where the evidence meets a criminal threshold, then the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will decide on whether criminal charges are brought.

"We take allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual offences extremely seriously and any officer or staff facing such an accusation is likely to be suspended from duty while an inquiry is carried out or, depending on an assessment of threat, harm and risk, removed from public-facing roles and duties involving gathering evidence.

"If evidence of gross misconduct is found, a hearing may take place chaired by a Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) who is independent of policing. In the majority of cases, misconduct hearings are held in public but on occasion the LQC may deem it necessary to hold the hearing in private. Regardless, the outcome of the hearing is always published on our website in the interests of transparency.

"We fully recognise that if we are to have legitimacy in tackling violence against women and girls, we need to ensure any such behaviour within our own workforce is not tolerated.

"We encourage all members of the public to report incidents of inappropriate behaviour, sexual misconduct or sexual offences to us whether they involve one of our employees or not. Similarly, we urge all officers and staff to report incidents of this nature, as well as any other matters which cause them concern to either a senior manager, Human Resources, PSD or via an anonymous confidential phone line."


Six sexual assault complaints were made against male Wiltshire Police officers between 2016 and 2020.

Of the complaints, four saw no further action and in two the victim did not wish to purse the case.

Of the cases against officers in the force between 2016 and 2020, five came from the members of the public and one from a colleague.

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said: "Here at Wiltshire Police we expect the very highest levels of professionalism, honesty and ethics from everyone within our workforce and we have robust systems in place to ensure these standards are upheld.

“Our Professional Standards Department is a committed team who work hard to educate our officers and staff, as well as investigating incidents or people of concern.

“We deal with all public complaints and conduct matters robustly and if a police officer or staff member is deemed to have breached standards then the appropriate action is taken.

“With police officer misconduct, this means facing disciplinary action and being placed before a panel. The media are invited to attend these hearings and the outcomes are placed on our police website.

“We would urge anyone who has concerns about the conduct of a police officer or member of staff, to report this so it can be fully investigated.

“We want our communities to have confidence that their concerns or complaints will be listened to and acted on.”

The national picture

Responses from 33 police forces across Great Britain revealed that most claims over five years related to male officers, where their sex was recorded.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, which includes groups like Rape Crisis, Refuge and Women's Aid, said few officers face "any meaningful consequences" for violence against women and girls nationally.

The organisation said the murder of Ms Everard took place within a broader context of violence perpetrated by the police, adding that trust in forces from women and girls was now at an all-time low.

Deputy director Denzi Uğur said: "We need to see a radical overhaul of how the police respond to violence against women – especially within their own ranks.

"This means greater accountability and urgent, coordinated and strategic action to address violence against women.

"Ultimately, we need to address these widespread institutional failings before we can even begin to address women’s confidence in the police."

The Prime Minister has called for a change in the culture of policing following the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens.

It emerged that Couzens had been accused of indecent exposure in 2015 – but was still able to transfer from Kent Police to the Metropolitan force.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating both forces for their handling of Couzens.

The body holds an oversight of the entire police complaints system and investigates the most serious police misconduct matters.

A spokesperson said: "The abuse of police powers for purposes of sexual exploitation, or violence, has a devastating impact on victims, and a serious impact on the public’s confidence in individual officers and the service in general.

"It is critical there are effective systems in place to prevent, monitor and deal swiftly with any individual who exploits that trust."

Home Secretary Priti Patel this week launched an independent inquiry into the "systematic failures" by police following the murder of Ms Everard.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Home Secretary is determined to do everything in her power to deliver improvements within policing and across the criminal justice system.

“The inquiry will look into wider issues across policing – including vetting practices, professional standards and discipline, and workplace behaviour.

“As the public would rightly expect, we take police integrity very seriously and have already taken steps to overhaul the police complaints and discipline systems."

The inquiry has been welcomed by the National Police Chief's Council chairman, Martin Hewitt, who said vetting and professional standards procedures needed to be scrutinised to restore public confidence.

"I think having an independent inquiry is a very good way for that to be to be dealt with to really help us provide that reassurance," he added.