Met Police officer escapes domestic abuse charge after ‘controlling every step’ of investigation
An armed Metropolitan Police officer escaped prosecution for domestic abuse after controlling “every step” of the investigation, a woman has claimed, as the force faces a damning report on misogyny in its ranks.
The woman alleges that, as soon as he knew he was under suspicion, the officer used his experience responding to domestic abuse cases to wipe social media, clean up his phone, and dictate her police statement to get the probe “shut down”.
He remains serving in Britain’s largest force more than a year after being arrested by a different force on suspicion of controlling and coercive behaviour towards his partner.
The officer was released without charge, and Scotland Yard has not yet decided if he will face disciplinary proceedings.
The man’s former partner, Lauren*, spoke to The Independent ahead of the release of a report that is expected to criticise the force for failing to tackle problems linked to misogyny, homophobia and racism.
The review by Baroness Casey was commissioned in 2021, after the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, then a serving armed officer in the Met.
Lauren said her ex-boyfriend was a “scary individual” who had started to show “anger and aggression” after they moved in together.
She said he would call her a “wh***”, a “sl**” and a “c***” while criticising her physical appearance and mental health, adding: “He would have these angry outbursts where he would damage the door frames, the puppy gate, flip over the coffee table, throw and smash glasses.
“He punched a hole in the wall next to my head and said I should be grateful that it was the wall he hit, and not me ... he would claim that it was my fault, that I made him like this.”
Lauren said the officer started restricting her contact with family and friends and controlling her finances, and regularly went through her mobile phone messages after gaining her password. Concerned friends later reported him to police out of fear for her safety.
Blindsided by a call from an investigator working for a force outside the Met, Lauren said she “panicked” and told her partner before detectives could come to their home.
“He went into survival mode,” she said. “He was just demanding that I tell him every step of the investigation, every single thing that the officer [in charge] had said.
“When he got home from work that night, he deleted all of his social media and wiped both his phone and his iPad.”
The officer had responded to domestic abuse cases “all the time” before becoming a firearms officer in the Metropolitan Police and was familiar with investigative processes and prosecution thresholds, Lauren added.
She said her former boyfriend stood over her shoulder as she wrote an email responding to detectives, instructing her on what to say in an attempt to get the investigation “shut down”.
The statement, which Lauren later retracted, said he had never been “physically violent”, that her friends’ report had been “extensively exaggerated”, that she “did not fear any violence”, and that she had mental health issues including PTSD and depression.
“I can confirm that [officer] is not controlling or coercive in his behaviours towards me and we are in a good and healthy relationship,” it went on. “I do not want to support any further police proceedings, and I am wholly against a ‘victimless prosecution’.”
WhatsApp messages seen by The Independent show the officer requesting information on the investigation from Lauren, writing: “This is my career babe ... let me know what they [the investigating officers] say.”
Other messages suggested that he had told a supervisor about the domestic abuse report, and that he needed “to know if I’m going to be getting nicked so that I can inform my [Police Federation] rep and solicitor”, saying: “It’s my career on the line ... I am s***ting myself over all of this.”
As the investigation continued, Lauren said the police officer researched the “ins and outs of the law”, looking up official guidance on controlling and coercive behaviour and pressuring her for details of the probe.
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“I refused to talk about the investigation with him at home, so he would drive me to work, force me to talk about it, and would not unlock the car doors until I’d answered whatever he said,” she recalled.
In a later statement to police after managing to leave the relationship and move out of their home, Lauren explained why she had not been “able to write the truth” in her first email, adding: “I didn’t want to support the investigation in the first place as I was scared, not because it was false.”
“[The officer] has known about the police investigation from the start when you first called me,” she warned investigators. “I was scared that he might think it was me who had reported him so I told him right away. He told me not to tell you certain things in my statement.”
Lauren said she had been left a “shell” of herself by the abuse, and had not called the police herself “because [her former partner] is a police officer and I was frightened of the way he would react”.
She provided new statements, alongside messages, photos and videos of the damage in their home, and the friends who made the initial report were interviewed. But in November, the investigating force wrote to Lauren saying it had decided that “no further action should be taken”.
An email seen by The Independent claimed “there was not enough evidence to support a pattern of coercive control” and told Lauren she was “clearly capable of asserting herself in the event of disputes within their relationship”.
Lauren has lodged a formal complaint over the “atrocious” handling of the domestic abuse investigation, saying she was not offered help to leave home or any other support to give evidence against her partner safely.
“No officers attended my address to complete a welfare check and see for themselves the damage my partner was doing,” she wrote.
“I did not physically see any officers until eight months after the investigation had started and I had moved away from the area.
“I have not felt believed, and this has caused me to have serious doubts about whether coming forward was the right thing to do. I have no knowledge of the current status of the internal investigation.”
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said the officer was put on restricted duties following his arrest by a different force, and that he cannot “deploy operationally with a firearm”.
“An investigation into the officer’s conduct is currently ongoing,” they added. “If it is found he has a case to answer for misconduct, he will face disciplinary proceedings.
“On 24 February [the date The Independent approached the force for comment] we were made aware of a number of further concerns about the officer’s behaviour and the Directorate of Professional Standards is reviewing.”
A statement said that commissioner Sir Mark Rowley was “determined to root out those who corrupt the Met’s integrity”.
“We have increased resources in the Directorate of Professional Standards, established the Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command, and developed the Crimestoppers Police Integrity Hotline,” it added.
“We’re doing all we can to confront head-on the issues that impact on the trust and confidence people have in the Met.”
The force that investigated the officer confirmed that it had received Lauren’s complaint about the probe, and added: “It would be inappropriate to comment further while that complaint is being investigated.”
*Name changed to protect anonymity