Dozens of allegations of sexual assault were made against serving police officers in Hertfordshire over five years, figures reveal.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there is “a massive job” to be done in restoring women’s confidence in police after the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show 27 sexual assault complaints were made against Hertfordshire Constabulary officers between 2016 and 2020.

The data does not specify if the officers were on or off duty at the time the alleged incidents occurred.

The sex of the person making the accusation was also unknown in each case.

Watford Observer: The data from Hertfordshire Constabulary was obtained by an FOI request.The data from Hertfordshire Constabulary was obtained by an FOI request.

Responses from 33 police forces across Great Britain revealed that most claims over five years related to male officers, where their sex was recorded.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition, which includes groups like Rape Crisis, Refuge and Women's Aid, said few officers face "any meaningful consequences" for violence against women and girls nationally.

The organisation said the murder of Ms Everard took place within a broader context of violence perpetrated by the police.

Deputy director Denzi Uğur said: "We need to see a radical overhaul of how the police respond to violence against women – especially within their own ranks.

"This means greater accountability and urgent, coordinated and strategic action to address violence against women.

Watford Observer: Sarah Everard. Picture: PA.Sarah Everard. Picture: PA.

"Ultimately, we need to address these widespread institutional failings before we can even begin to address women’s confidence in the police."

The data from Hertfordshire Constabulary was in response to a request for the number of complaints of sexual assaults against serving police officers.

It covered public complaints and internal conduct matters, which include those raised by members of the police against their colleagues.

Complaints could relate to historic allegations.

Of the cases against officers in the force between 2016 and 2020, 19 came from the members of the public and five from colleagues.

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The source of three ongoing complaints was not given.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Constabulary said it requires the “highest levels of integrity” from officers and takes appropriate action when required.

“If claims are made against our officers, a thorough investigation will be carried out by an independent force irrespective of who the offender is,” they added.

“The Professional Standards Department (PSD) prioritises sexual offence allegations against police officers.

“PSD, working in conjunction with the IOPC, investigates officers where officer conduct has or is likely to have breached the standards of professional behaviour.”

The spokesperson said in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder and the “gross abuse of power” by serving officer Wayne Couzens it is only right that the whole police service be subjected to greater scrutiny.

“Sarah’s killer will never be free to pose a threat to any woman or girl ever again and his wicked actions have provoked feelings of great anger, sadness and shock among those working in policing,” they continued.

“He betrayed every single police officer and staff member who have dedicated their working lives to preventing crime and keeping people safe.

“We recognise damage he will have caused to communities’ confidence in policing, and we are certain that the service nationally will learn from what has happened.”

They said Couzens in no way reflects policing generally and Herts Police remains “absolutely committed” to protecting women and girls from violence and abuse.