Top cop SUSPENDED for 'sexual misconduct' – sending shockwaves through police service

THE HEAD of the police rank and file union was yesterday suspended over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Police Federation leader John Apter had his warrant card taken away by his home force.

Hampshire Police suspended the veteran cop over an allegation made by a female officer of sexual impropriety.

He is the highest profile officer to become embroiled in a 'MeToo' movement sweeping through the policing ranks after the murder of Sarah Evarard by Met firearms cop Wayne Couzens.

Mr Apter, in his 50's, represents 130,000 officers up to the rank of chief inspector over pay and policies.

The top cop is said to have formed a close working relationship with Home Secretary Priti Patel during his tenure as chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.

He was elected chair of the highly influential staff association in May 2018.

Prior to that, Mr Apter became a rep for Hampshire Police on 2001, citing his grievance over a sexual allegation.

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Mr Apter spoke out agianst a canteen culture of sexism within the police following this autumn's sentencing of Met gun cop Couzens for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah in March.

The Police Fed chief said the “horrific” murder had impacted the public’s relationship with the police, writing: “It’s not enough to just say that this was the action of one evil man who deserves to rot in jail.”

He added: “Misogyny is not just a problem for women, it’s a problem for us all. Far too often there is silence when this takes place, and through this inaction we are failing each other and wider society.

“We need to consign to the history books some of our canteen culture where sexist nicknames and derogatory remarks are made.

"When banter crosses the line to become sexist, derogatory or homophobic, that’s when it ceases to be banter.”

Officers must demonstrate through their words and their actions that sexism has no place in policing, he added.

A spate of policing sex scandals has followed in the wake of Sarah's case.

Mr Apter is under disciplinary and criminal investigation over allegations of sexual touching.

He was today/yesterday served with a notice of alleged gross misconduct and criminal allegations.

It is understood there are four incidents of gross misconduct under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The suspension of Mr Apter will send shockwaves through the police service.

He is certain to be suspended as the Fed's chair.

A spokesperson for the IOPC said last night: ''We can confirm that, on Friday 17 December, we received a referral relating to a police constable from Hampshire Constabulary and we have started an independent investigation.

''On Monday 20 December, the officer was served with a notice of investigation for potential breaches of police professional standards relating to four separate alleged incidents.

''They were also advised they are subject to criminal investigation, for sexual touching contrary to section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, in relation to two of those alleged incidents.”

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