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Home ยป Former Top Met Officer’s ‘regretful Sex’ Rape Comment Investigated

Former Top Met Officer’s ‘regretful Sex’ Rape Comment Investigated

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, Sir Stephen House was the first chief constable of Police Scotland

A former Met Police deputy commissioner is being investigated after allegedly saying the “bulk” of rape complaints were “regretful sex”.

It was claimed Sir Stephen House made the comments to a Home Office adviser in January 2022.

The force said the comments were “wholly unacceptable”, and the matter had been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Sir Stephen said: “I categorically deny using the phrase ‘regretful sex’.”

The accusation was made on Channel 4 News by Prof Betsy Stanko, a Home Office adviser appointed to conduct Operation Soteria – which is examining the way police forces respond to rape cases.

She spoke to Sir Stephen when he was deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Horrific offence

She said: “It felt as if he was trying to minimise what the problem was, not taking it seriously.

“He used terms to describe – or a term to describe – what he thought the bulk of the rape complaints were, which was the term ‘regretful sex’.”

Met Police Deputy Commissioner Dame Lynne Owens said: “Rape is a horrific offence that has a devastating and lasting impact.

“The comments included in the Operation Soteria Bluestone report are wholly unacceptable.

“We recognise that they risk further undermining the confidence of victims to come forward and that is deeply regrettable.

“Having been made aware of an allegation that the comments were made by a senior Metropolitan Police officer, we have referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”

Findings from Operation Soteria declared some officers “displayed a culture of disbelieving victims”.

In a statement, Sir Stephen House said: “I have dedicated over four decades of public service to protecting the public from predatory offenders.

“These are not words I have ever used in relation to rape or sexual assault and the reason I am so certain that I did not say this is because I simply do not believe it; I find the phrase abhorrent.

“I find this characterisation of me to be deeply upsetting, and colleagues who know me know how untrue it is.”

An IOPC spokesperson confirmed the police watchdog had “received a conduct referral yesterday from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) regarding alleged comments made by a former senior MPS officer in January 2022”.

“We will now carefully assess the referral to decide what further action may be required from us,” they added.

Sir Stephen has held a number of senior positions, including serving as Police Scotland’s first chief constable between 2012 and 2015 and being appointed as Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in April 2022 after Dame Cressida Dick left the position.

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