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700 responses to police staff survey on sexual harassment in workplace

todayNovember 16, 2022 3

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An internal survey asking Derbyshire police staff if they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace has yielded 700 responses.

Derbyshire police chiefs say improvements are being made after hundreds of anonymous staff were invited to raise issues of sexual harassment at work.

Chief Constable Rachel Swann is seen in a video telling the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner that the force is taking a “very proactive” stance on sexual misbehaviour within the force.

Derbyshire police’s most senior officer was asked questions on the public’s behalf by Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster in a scrutiny meeting which centred on women and violence across Derbyshire. Chief Cons Swann then revealed Derbyshire Constabulary carried out its own survey to ask officers and police staff about sexual harassment experiences.

The survey covered behaviour between colleagues with questions including “have you experienced sexual harassment at work during your time as a Derbyshire employee?” and “If you have suffered from sexual harassment in the workplace during your time as a Derbyshire employee, what type of behaviour did you experience?”

The survey attracted 700 responses, which the police say was a large response that “gives a very good indication of the issues raised”.

However, a Derbyshire police spokesperson said feedback from the survey showed that it was not felt there was an “endemic issue of sexual harassment within the force at this moment in time”.

Chief Cons Swann said at the meeting: “Both officers and police staff were invited to complete the survey with regards to their experience of sexual harassment within the workplace. The survey was completely anonymous and explained the definition of sexual harassment behaviours.

“The force had 700 responses, in which we have taken feedback and made improvements such as the introduction of an anonymous Force Integrity line. The force is absolutely committed to robustly dealing with any staff member who falls below the standards that are expected of them.”

If each of the 700 responses came from a single staff member, that equates to around 20 per cent of the workforce at Derbyshire police who had responded to the survey.

Respecting the sensitive nature of the topic, the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked Derbyshire police if the force could give a general summary of the 700 responses provided. The LDRS also asked if any investigations started after the collection of survey answers.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire police said: “What was clear from the survey was that there was not felt to be an endemic issue of sexual harassment within the force at this moment in time. Some responders who had been in the force for many years told of their experience in the past but explained that the force was a much different place now.

“However, that does not mean that the force is complacent about the concern and potential that officers and staff may be victims of sexual harassment and there is significant work planned around standards in the coming months.

“One of the points that were raised in the survey was a concern about the reporting mechanisms should they be a victim of sexual harassment. While the force already has an internal reporting tool the force has introduced the Force Integrity Line which is run by Crimestoppers and is a totally anonymous reporting mechanism. This has been in place for a little under six months.

“The survey was totally anonymous and there were incidents reported as a part of that work. However, as a part of the survey, the reporting lines for anyone who may have been a victim were also part of the information on the survey itself.”

Written by: NDR NEWS

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todayNovember 16, 2022