A series of recent scandals have exposed how police mistreat vulnerable people. One officer, Ihsan Ali, was jailed for two years earlier this month after pursuing sexual relationships with women in the north west of England.
A court heard that the fact that the women were victims of crime “is what he used to initiate and justify further communication with them”.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating a Metropolitan Police officer after allegations that he sent inappropriate messages to a colleague.
And last month an officer in Hereford was sacked for gross misconduct after taking part in sexual activity with a vulnerable woman.
The cases are all too familiar to Hannah, a young woman who says she has suffered four years of harassment at the hands of the cops.
Hannah contacted police because she was a victim of crime. She suffered abusive relationships and was beaten up by her partner’s relatives.
But she told Socialist Worker, “The people who I’m most scared of are the police. They have damaged me the most. Once I called the police because my ex-partner was contacting me. They came but they weren’t taking it seriously so I asked them to leave.
“One officer twisted my hand around my back and I had to go to hospital. I was badly injured.”
Hannah made a complaint. But the police response was to suggest a “local resolution”. This would see Hannah meet the officer responsible and say how the assault made her feel—but nothing would be done.
“I thought that was disgraceful,” said Hannah. “The way they treat victims and women especially—they’re letting down so many people. And they’re adding to their problems.”
Hannah feels that challenging the cops has made her a target. On one occasion, she said a police unit was threatening to kick her door down if she didn’t let them in.
“I was really freaking out,” she said. “It was after they’d injured me. I thought they were going to kill me. I tried to slide down a drainpipe to get away and broke my leg. I blame them for it.”
Hannah is on medication and has taken overdoses as a result of the stress. “I just wanted to end it all,” she said. “They’ve made a victim distraught and if they’ve done it to me, they’ve done it to other people.”
Once she woke up in hospital after overdosing to find two police officers there. “I was quite disorientated,” she said.
“The next thing one officer went out and the other tried to put my hand on his dick.”
Hannah was desperate to get documents from the cops detailing her injuries. In her vulnerable state, she hoped the officer could help.
A different officer later seemed willing to help too. “He said if I needed to ask him any questions, to get in touch,” she said. “I thought he really does care.”
The officer began to message Hannah on Whatsapp and eventually sent inappropriate messages and pictures. When Hannah said she wasn’t interested he didn’t respond. “He didn’t want to help me,” she said.
None of the men accused have so far been held to account for any of Hannah’s complaints. Hannah said police decided there was no further action to take against her ex-partner’s relatives.
They failed to arrest her ex-partner after she made a complaint of rape earlier this year.
“He’s done it before and he’s recorded me on his phone,” she said. “I told the police. But I found out they weren’t arresting him but asking him to come in voluntarily.
“And they wouldn’t say if they had seized his phone.”
The experiences have had a devastating effect on Hannah’s life. Pain in her hand and leg is a “constant reminder” of what has happened to her.
“There are women who have killed themselves because they’ve got no justice. They victimise victims and trivialise violence against women. But this is my life. It’s not trivial.”