“Allegations of domestic abuse perpetrated by police officers are swept under the carpet,” Lucy*, who alleges horrific domestic abuse at the hands of her police officer ex-husband tells The Independent. “Domestic abuse among police officers is rife. He has very close contact with senior police so has confidence he can get away with whatever he wants.”
The 44-year-old says her former husband perpetrated a “vicious, unrelenting” campaign of physical violence and emotional abuse against both herself and their two children during their 20-year marriage. She reported him to Cambridgeshire Police, where he worked before retiring, after fleeing him around two years ago, but was left bitterly disappointed and frustrated after no further action was taken.
Her comments come as the Met Police faces sustained criticism for failing to tackle violence against women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard’s tragic murder and rape by a serving Met Police officer. Wayne Couzens, who wielded Covid lockdown restrictions to falsely arrest the 33-year-old marketing executive before kidnapping, raping and strangling her, was sentenced to a whole-life prison term last week. He will die in jail.
“To tackle violence against women and girls after Everard’s death we need to get rid of the bad eggs in the police,” Lucy concludes. “There needs to be new recruits. They need to start going back to cases where no action was taken. They may lose a lot of police but they are losing the bag eggs.”
Lucy, who is being supported by the Centre for Women’s Justice, a legal charity which tackles violence against women, says after she escaped her 61-year-old husband in 2018, both herself, and her two sons, had to have separate three-hour video interviews with the police.
“The interviews were done by people he worked with,” she adds. “A senior police officer told me my husband had a 30-minute voluntary interview. My husband claimed they told him at the end of that interview that it was not going to go any further.”
While she asked for the case to be reviewed, no additional action was taken. She says she was eager to press charges against her former husband but was unable to as the police did not look into her case.
However, she was able to get an order via the civil court blocking her ex from coming within 30 miles of the city she lives in, as well as banning him from her home and her parents’ property.
Lucy explains she was just 20-years-old - and a whole decade and a half younger than her police officer husband - when she first embarked on a relationship with him. His abuse and violence against her slowly creeped up during their relationship, she says, while the attacks and emotional manipulation of her sons was constant for the entirety of their lives.
“He accused me of all the time of having affairs,” she recalls. “I stopped doing hobbies as he was so jealous and controlling. He took out cards in my name and ran up debts. I had several miscarriages. At no point did he cry or show emotion or empathy. He didn’t come with me to the hospital. He has no feelings. He is emotionally constipated.”
But sometimes things turned darker with her ex-husband, she says, and she feels fortunate he did not end up murdering her. On top of this, he was frequently sexually violent towards her and she found him preying on younger women online, Lucy adds.
“He is a proper predator,” she concludes. “I would love for him to not be around any females at all or any children. He threatened to kill me. He said he would slit my throat and let me choke on my blood.”
She says her former husband would also punch and kick their dogs and killed three of their cats - adding that she has lost faith in the police as she branded them a “corrupt institution”.
“How can they protect people when they protect their own first?” she asks. “It is a boys’ club and it is never going to change. I think if you haven’t got a dark side before you start as a police officer, you will end up with a slight dark side. A lot of people who go into the police have a higher than thou persona and they project how little everyone else is.”
Chief Constable Nick Dean, of Cambridgeshire Police, insists they “take all reports of domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual assault extremely seriously and no exceptions are made when a police officer or member of staff is involved.
“In this particular case, historic reports of sexual assault and assault were made in 2018 against a former Cambridgeshire officer.“
The constable says the man was interviewed under caution but after an investigation, there was thought to be “insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution and no further action was taken”.
“Details of the allegation were shared with relevant safeguarding partner agencies, as procedure requires,” Mr Dean adds, saying the officer had to go through stringent vetting procedures.
The comments come a week after the UK’s domestic abuse commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, told The Independent the police can’t respond to Everard’s murder by insisting it is an isolated issue in an exclusive interview.
While Nogah Ofer, solicitor at the Centre for Women’s Justice, a legal charity which tackles violence against women, said there is a “culture of impunity” within the police due to officers protecting each other. “In lots of cases, the investigator is friends with the officer,” she said.
Over 150 women have come forward to the charity since they launched a super-complaint against the police 18 months ago - with the organisation saying women are routinely let down when they report abuse perpetrated by a police officer.
Meanwhile, Lucy says her marriage has taken its toll on her mental health and she has been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and can no longer work. And her son has dropped 10 inches from his waist because of vomiting induced from his father’s punching and kicking.
“My boys still struggle,” she says. “They still struggle everyday, The oldest one can’t go for a jog because he gets so scared he will see his dad. I have eight CCTV cameras around the house. I am petrified he will come and find me and attack me. I have about 12 night terrors a night.”
*Lucy’s name has been changed to protect her identity
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