South Australia Police (SAPOL) is a sleazy, misogynistic “boy’s club” overrun with sexual harassment and predatory behaviour, a SA Equal Opportunity Commission investigation has found.
Despite presenting itself as a law enforcement agency, SAPOL has significantly higher rates of sexual predation within its ranks than the average workplace.
The 2016 EOC report, Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Predatory Behaviour in the South Australian Police Force, found a toxic “boys’ club” culture within the force. When compiling its report, the commission heard from around 2,000 respondents – around 30 per cent of SAPOL. Of those respondents, 36 per cent had personally experienced sexual harassment and 45 per cent of respondents had personally experienced sex discrimination.
Almost two-thirds – 61 per cent – perceived sexual harassment and predatory behaviour occurred in the organisation.
The report found discriminatory and harassing behaviour was seen as being “acceptable and normalised” at SAPOL.
As an indication of the kind of the sleazy behaviour female recruits can expect when they join SAPOL, in 2016 a female officer alleged the lads at SAPOL sent her explicit text messages, ranked her attractiveness, and drew genitalia in her hat. The officer, who filed action with the SA Employment Tribunal for sexual harassment, told the Industrial Court her male colleagues touched her and sent her crude messages while she was working, including one about a “gluten-free penis.”
What a bunch of winners.
It’s a sobering thought to think these are the people you’re supposed to call when you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped, or subjected to domestic violence.
The EOC found the reported incidence of predatory behaviour (i.e. the misuse of authority or influence to exploit others for sexual or other personal gratification) in SAPOL was 21 per cent higher than the general population figure (49 per cent vs 28 per cent).
Take another look at those figures, and let them fully sink in for a moment. SAPOL personnel – the people entrusted to uphold law and order in South Australia – are almost twice as likely to be sexual predators than the average person.
It’s bad enough that Australia’s disgraceful rate of rape and sexual assault ranks among the highest in the world (in the early 2000s, Australia ranked second only behind South Africa for per capita rape incidents; more recently, Australia ranked 11th). But rather than resolve to earnestly tackle this problem, the misogynists who work at SAPOL are far more likely to be sex predators than the average person.
What the Respondents Said
“The culture [within SAPOL] is to make fun of people, due to their weight, sexuality, age, gender, speech impediments, disability etc.”
“…it was common for male officers to ‘rate’ a victim, or witnesses for their attractiveness. They would also rate new police women coming into the team. This would happen in front of me and other women.”
“I have been told by a male supervisor … ‘I have a penis, you’re a woman, you … will always be a sexual object to me’.”
“A new senior member started on our team. He started to make persistent sexual comments and gestures towards me and would send me endless inappropriate text messages. He would tell me things like I want to ‘impregnate you’. I told him to pull his head in. I wasn’t interested. I started getting more and more text messages including comments about his penis.”
“There was an occasion where men on my team called me at home while they were away on a work trip to ask me about my breast size, which they had been speculating about together.”
“I have been subjected to ongoing sexual [harassment] by one male colleague that resulted in me becoming highly anxious in my workplace …. I would feel physically ill at the prospect of seeing him … When I explained that his actions were unwelcome … he told me that … it was all just a bit of fun.”
“Sexual harassment is part of the job for women working in SAPOL. You are just expected to put up with it … just a few examples of the everyday harassment I have experienced … being … picked up by the back of my vest and paraded around by males seeking to prove how strong they are (this was demeaning); … wash[ing] the car fleet – every time you bend over to scrub something you expect that someone will grab you, or make some form of sexual comment; … one time when I was walking past a waxing salon with a male colleague he … said ‘I bet you go there and are all waxed down there.’ I’ve been told by line managers that women somehow contribute to being sexually harassed.”
It’s Not Just the Men
If you’ve ever observed any meaningful number of SAPOL officers, you’ll have noticed many female officers have attitudes every bit as repulsive as their male counterparts.
“In my experience some women within SAPOL are significantly more predatory than men … I have experienced sexual harassment by the opposite gender in a number of different workplaces across the organisation over many years ranging from unwanted sexual contact/fondling, kissing, sexual comments, emails and texts. It would be nice for it to be recognised that sexual harassment within SAPOL is not defined by one specific gender against the other.”
SAPOP: South Australian Protectors of Pedophiles
The sociopaths at SAPOL don’t just dabble in ‘traditional’ sexual harassment. Click on the “Child Abuse & Pedophilia” category in the sidebar and you’ll see numerous SAPOL officers have molested underage girls.
One of these repugnant individuals was former South Australia Police chief inspector Graham Bennett Fraser, whose victims were aged nine and 14 when he started sexually abusing them. When SAPOL became aware of his offending, it simply brushed the matter under the carpet. Instead of charging Fraser for his molestation, his colleagues at SAPOL merely demoted him by one rank, from chief inspector to the rank of inspector!
And in 2014, several SAPOL detectives revealed they were suddenly told to shut down a promising pedophilia investigation by SAPOL Assistant Commissioner Colin Watkins. The investigation initially centred around five Adelaide pedophiles but subsequently uncovered links between this group and interstate and international pedophiles. As no reason whatsoever was given by Watkins for closing the investigation, it can only be assumed the detectives were on the verge of uncovering information that would have proved severely compromising for influential pedophiles.
Perhaps SAPOL should change its PR slogan from “Keeping SA Safe” to “Molesting SA”?