Kelly: Need for cultural shift on attitudes towards women within PSNI

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly has said there is a clear need for a cultural shift around attitudes towards women in the PSNI.

Mrs Kelly was speaking after civilian PSNI employee Sinead McGrotty shared her experience after alleging being sexually assaulted and harassed by a serving police officer.

Upper Bann MLA Mrs Kelly said:

“While I was shocked and dismayed to listen to Sinead McGrotty’s horrendous ordeal today, this is not the first incident involving allegations of improper behaviour towards women by serving PSNI officers.

“Since the Sarah Everard case in Britain we have seen a spotlight shined on the attitude of our PSNI officers towards women, with a number of PSNI officers investigated for alleged sexual misconduct against women in recent years and some having been jailed as a result of their actions.

“It is not only within our police service, we need to challenge outdated and misogynistic attitudes wherever we encounter them and thankfully we are starting to see a shift within our society, but there is much work still to be done.

“Chief Constable Simon Byrne has promised an internal review within the PSNI to provide reassurances to women and girls and this must include appropriate punishments for those who have been found guilty of misconduct or who have acted inappropriately.

“We cannot allow anyone involved in this type of behaviour to remain a police officer. Working as a member of the police services come with unique power and responsibilities and we must expect the same standards from them as we do from everyone else in society. In my role on the Policing Board I will be stressing the importance of education and training to make sure that the necessary cultural shift takes place within our police to ensure that incidents like this become a thing of the past.”

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