Met Police and victims' commissioner demand family courts change to crack down on offender officers

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London's victims' commissioner, Claire Waxman OBE, has called for changes to stop police officer sex offenders.

Calls for change have been made after it emerged that the Met Police was unaware of a non-molestation order against one of its officers, who went on to be convicted of rape and child abuse.

London’s Victims’ Commissioner Claire Waxman has highlighted a “gap in information” in the family court system which “hides police perpetrators”.

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Last month former Met Police officer Cliff Mitchell was convicted of multiple counts of rape and kidnap during a “sickening and sustained campaign of abuse”.

Mitchell, of Putney, Wandsworth, was found guilty of 10 counts of rape, three of rape of a child under 13, one count of kidnap and breach of a non-molestation order.

The 24-year-old was a serving PC in Hounslow when a number of the offences were committed.

The Met only became aware of the non-molestation order, dated July 20 2023, when Mitchell breached it. Mitchell had not been required to disclose it to his employer.

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He was dismissed in December, following an accelerated misconduct hearing.

Cliff Mitchell  was convicted of multiple counts of rape and kidnapCliff Mitchell  was convicted of multiple counts of rape and kidnap
Cliff Mitchell was convicted of multiple counts of rape and kidnap

Ms Waxman warned that although work has been done in the Met to improve vetting procedures, there is a need for a national reform regarding information disclosed in the courts system.

“One of the areas that I’m concerned about that I’m trying to shine a light on is there’s a gap in information between what happens in our family courts and family justice and what comes across to the criminal courts,” Ms Waxman told LondonWorld.

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“We saw that recently in the Cliff Mitchell case. What we saw there was he was subject to a non-molestation order but he didn’t have to declare it so the police had no idea.

“Those sort of things that happen in family courts - such as non-molestation orders or maybe a barring order, or a finding of domestic abuse or sexual abuse - isn’t coming across to the police. So how do they know who’s a risk if there’s a police officer coming in? It's absolutely critical that we see national reform.”

Ms Waxman raised the issue of disclosures from the family courts at the most recent police board meeting at City Hall on Tuesday March 5.

Victims’ commissioner Claire Waxman. Photo: City HallVictims’ commissioner Claire Waxman. Photo: City Hall
Victims’ commissioner Claire Waxman. Photo: City Hall

The London Policing Board was formed last May following a recommendation from Baroness Louise Casey’s review of culture and standards in the Met.

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Met Commissioner Mark Rowley said he and his team are trying to address the issues.

“My team has been having conversations with the family courts about whether we can have a better information feed from them,” Sir Mark told the policing board.

He continued: "They historically have not told us that the person that they had made it against was a police officer.

“This was a gap that no one spotted previously. They’re still not giving us that information but we’re doing the checks.”

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Last weekend marked three years since marketing executive Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens.

Women’s safety campaigner Jamie Klingler said despite the Casey review and the Met Police’s promise for reform she feels despair.

“What’s really hard right now, like with learning about Cliff Mitchell being hired as a Met Police officer despite being a child rape suspect, just months after Couzens, when all eyes were on the Met Police. It shows they have no intention of progress, they have no intention of change,” Ms Klingler told LondonWorld.

“Three years on, I feel despair. Up until now we were giving the Met Police the benefit of the doubt, we actually believed change was the intention. I no longer believe that reform was the intention.”

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Deputy mayor for policing and crime Sophie Linden said that the Met Police is taking the issue of misconduct “incredibly seriously”.

“I completely understand why those awful cases, including the recent case of Cliff Mitchell, do have a real impact on women and girls in London and their confidence to come forward and report,” Ms Linden told LondonWorld.

“What I would say is the new commissioner of the Met and his leadership team have taken this incredibly seriously.

“They are looking through every officer, they’ve data washed every officer in the Met Police, they have increased the number of officers who have been suspended.”

LondonWorld has contacted the Ministry of Justice for comment.

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