Employment news

Research shows culture of sexual harassment in Police Forces

Police chiefs have agreed to tackle the sexual harassment of staff following a report by UNISON, the LSE and the University of Surrey revealed incidents of inappropriate leering, sexual gestures and being pressured to have sex. They labelled the culture as “outdated and unacceptable behaviour”.

The survey of 1,776 police support staff across England, Wales and Scotland found that 4% had been pressured to have sex with colleagues and 8% had been told that sexual favours could result in preferential treatment.

Almost half had commonly heard sexulaised jokes and one in five had received a sexually-explicit email or text from a colleague.

The research also revealed that a third had faced intrusive questioning about their private lives, more than a fifth had experienced inappropriate staring or leering, and almost one in five had been touched in a way that made them feel uncomfortable. Eighteen per cent had seen colleagues make sexual gestures at work, while 12% had witnessed or been the subject of unwelcome touching, kissing or hugging.

The research also showed that the more serious the harassment the less likely the affected staff member was to report it. Nearly two in five respondents said keeping quiet was easier than complaining, and more than a third said they felt nothing would be done if they did complain.