With news of Metropolitan Police Officer PC David Carrick pleading guilty to a series of rapes and other offences against women, two of which were on record before he joined the force, eyes are turning to the many other cases of sexual and domestic violence by MET officers that are currently under review. This news follows the reports from the London Fire Service late last year, which highlighted major issues around misogyny and racism.
Normalisation and tolerance of toxic sexual behaviours in the most trusted professions in society needs to be tackled nationally from a policy level. It must be recognised that this is a concerning issue for wider society, and that a joined-up approach will tackle this issue consistently. Resources, training, and support need to be provided to enable the culture shift that is so crucially needed.
These reports will be the tip of the iceberg as many instances of sexual harassment go unreported. The problem is growing and a proactive, rather than reactive, response needs to be given as a matter of urgency.
Dialogue needs to be opened across all genders and everyone must be listened to. All genders have a stake in reducing these types of behaviours and this must be acknowledged. Widespread, national recognition and actions are among the first steps in moving towards reducing this type of behaviour. This is not just a MET issue - wider communities need to be engaged and united on this issue to shift the culture which harbours these harmful sexual behaviours. This is especially pertinent now, given recent reports.