Three Criminals in Police uniform: reflections on radical feminist insight to challenge misogyny in policing

Article


Cunningham, E. 2024. Three Criminals in Police uniform: reflections on radical feminist insight to challenge misogyny in policing. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues. 27 (2).
AuthorsCunningham, E.
Abstract

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is a growing global phenomenon along with the restriction of women’s rights over their own bodies and their appearance, in countries as disparate as America and Iran. The United Nations illustrated global VAWG prevalence and how it had peaked during COVID-19 (UN, 2020). At the same time there has been a rise in explicitly and overtly misogynistic ideas from influencers of boys and men like Andrew Tate. Tate extols the financial benefits to boys and men to follow his success of exploiting women and deceiving them into believing they are in relationships to control and abuse them emotionally, sexually and financially (Das, 2022). Concurrently in the UK we have a justice gap in relation to the successful prosecution of domestic and sexual violent offenders, and the criminal justice system which continues to blame and fail women generally (Stern, 2010; Stanko, 2023), and especially migrant women survivors, who are all also negatively impacted by cuts in legal aid since 2012 (Siddique, 2023). In the UK we have also seen increases in misogynistic crime offences undertaken by predatory criminal police officers. These offence types have included police perpetrated domestic violence and police use of online platforms in WhattsApp groups to share racist, homophobic and misogynistic messages with groups of other police officers. Some officers have also shared crime scene photographs of murdered women via this platform (Cunningham, 2021). In response there has been a lack of concerted, substantial institutional acknowledgement of the term ‘institutionalised’ in relation to racism or misogyny in policing. Instead of a recognition and acknowledgement of these offenders, there has been a denial of this toxic culture from within policing, followed by the adherence to the suggestion that this is simply a problem of a few rotten apples, to explain away these individual criminals in uniform. One example of this can be seen in the comments from Cressida Dick, the first female Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), where she suggested the MPS had ‘an occasional bad ‘un’ (Topping, 2021). She also saw the term ‘institutional racism as an unhelpful (Cunningham, 2021) as has the new Commissioner, Rowley. Gavin Stephens, however, becomes most senior serving officer in 2024 to accept that discrimination in policing does in fact operate at a ‘fundamental level’ which may add pressure to Rowley this year to confront these issues and finally accept the terminology and the problem (Dodd, 2024a).

Other institutions also contain and reproduce toxic misogynistic and racist culture, and research has also pointed to the clash of cultures within Higher Education (McCarthy and Taylor, 2023), and policing culture has been brought into Higher Education with the professionalisation agenda. Notwithstanding the acceptance that toxic cultures also exist within other organisations, within policing this culture poses particular problems given officers’ state sanctioned powers, credibility and discretion over citizens. For victim / survivors of domestic or sexual violence this culture will inform how the police respond to the offences they have been subjected to (Stern, 2010), and the same is true in relation to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic citizens. The Centre for Women’s Justice in the UK submitted a successful super complaint against the police in 2019 in a legal effort to hold policing to account for police perpetrated VAWG (CWJ, 2019), however the toxic culture

JournalJournal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues
Journal citation27 (2)
ISSN1544-0036
1544-0044
Year2024
PublisherAllied Business Academies
Publisher's version
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Anyone
Web address (URL)https://www.abacademies.org/articles/three-criminals-in-police-uniform-reflections-on-radical-feminist-insight-to-challenge-misogyny-in-policing-16738.html
Publication dates
Online08 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Apr 2024
Copyright holder© 2024, The Author
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