Police forces have failed vulnerable women who say they have been sexually exploited by officers.
Evidence has been deleted and out of 500 allegations of officers abusing their position, just 24 were charged, according to BBC data.
Some forces are carrying out “botched” or delayed investigations that are taking years to complete and rarely leading to misconduct sanctions or criminal charges.
Former Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said women are being “preyed upon by officers [who] they’ve called on to help them at a time of distress.”
She warned: “There couldn’t be a bigger breach of confidence.”
Change has to be immediate and neighbouring forces should be asked to investigate all allegations of officer sexual misconduct.
She added: “Complaints should be going out to another force and not being done internally. Who is policing the police professional standard departments?”
The Daily Express’s Keep Women Safe on our Streets crusade has called for greater protections for women in public and online.
The BBC said one force deleted footage of a woman claiming an inspector had raped her.
Another failed to prevent a detective’s phone being wiped after his arrest over claims he had sex with many victims.
The National Police Chiefs Council said the reports reinforce the work it is doing “to lift the stones and root out wrongdoers”.
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said forces would deliver “improvements to standards and culture”.
Chris Philp MP, the crime and policing minister, said a “zero tolerance approach” to officer abuse was needed.
He said the Home Office was acting to ensure “predatory individuals” were prevented from joining in the first place and reviewing the police dismissals process.
The BBC findings follow the convictions of serving officers Wayne Couzens and David Carrick in recent years for attacks on women.
Ex-girlfriend claims detective ‘stalked’ her after they split
A woman claims she was stalked and harassed by a police officer for more than two years, following a relationship that lasted a few months.
Charlotte Smith met Detective Sergeant Paul Whitehurst when she was a young adult and known to the police.
Charlotte, now 28, claims she bumped into Whitehurst in a bar years later when she was facing a legal dispute with her ex-partner.
She says he then persistently pursued a sexual relationship with her.
One text read: “I’d love to spend a night with you, in a real bedroom, hotel, whatever.” Charlotte told the BBC that she complained to the force in September 2020 about his conduct.
The officer allegedly began visit her without invitation, despite Charlotte making further complaints to the force and asking to be left alone.
Footage shows Whitehurst outside Charlotte’s home at 10.45pm, repeatedly pressing the buzzer.
Charlotte says she rang Warwickshire Police but officers took 45 minutes to arrive and they did not take a statement.
Whitehurst – who is 20 years older than Charlotte – was suspended last year.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct recommended 18 months ago that he face a gross misconduct hearing which is yet to take place.
Whitehurst denied abusing his position for a sexual purpose. Police say the allegations are “extremely serious” and its investigations continue.
We must end scourge of sexual harassment in schools, warn MPs
Sexual harassment of female students and staff in schools was described by MPs as a “scourge”.
Access to pornography has given boys a “misguided representation” of what sexual relationships look like, a report by the Women and Equalities Committee warned.
Referring to the Everyone’s Invited movement, whose mission is to “expose and eradicate” rape culture, MPs called it “saddening” that Ofsted and schools only acknowledge the seriousness of the sexual violence once testimonies of thousands of children emerge.
More than 50,000 submissions were posted, giving survivors an anonymous space to share their stories. It triggered a review into how schools in England handle sexual abuse and relating issues.
Committee chair Caroline Nokes, said: “For far too long too many people in positions of authority have failed to notice the problem of sexual harassment in schools, of girls and female staff. It has taken the testimonies of students to prompt an official response. It is incumbent on school leaders, inspectors and the Government not to let them down. There is more to do to improve safeguarding.”
The committee called for relationships, sex and health education to be made compulsory in sixth forms and colleges.