THAMES Valley Police has referred itself to a police watchdog over how it handled a complaint of police officers who mocked a vulnerable woman on body-worn police footage.

'Sickening' comments were made about an assault victim as officers watched back body-worn footage showing the woman's body partly exposed during an arrest.

The revelations have been reported as part of a BBC investigation which found none of the three officers involved faced a misconduct hearing but a student officer who reported them was later dismissed.

Thames Valley Police has since spoken out to assure that the former student who reported this incident 'did not lose their job as a result'.

The force added that the case and its handling of such has been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct for review.

The statement comes after the incident occurred in January 2023 when the officers based in Newbury watched footage from a body-worn video of an arrest during which the woman suffered a seizure in the back of a police vehicle.

The BBC described how the vulnerable woman who had originally been arrested for assault was placed in leg restraints before being recorded while vomiting and losing consciousness.

It was discovered that the officers watching the footage insulted her looks, used derogatory language about her genitals, and discussed what they would need to be paid to sleep with her.

The BBC also reported that the 22-year-old victim was found to be victim of the assault and arrest was dropped, after which the officers watched the footage despite the female PC's decision that charges would not be brought.

The policing regulator says Thames Valley Police should have reported the case for independent scrutiny. The force has now done so, following the BBC investigation.

Deputy Chief Constable Ben Snuggs said: “We pride ourselves in treating people with fairness and respect. The behaviour of the officers in this case fell well below the standards we expect from our people, and I thank the former student officer who reported this.

“Their action allowed us to act immediately to investigate, and subsequently sanction the officers involved.”

Although the student police officer was dismissed from his position after reporting the incident, Thames Valley Police have reiterated that their loss of employment was not due to his role as a whistle-blower.

"We took action to support them through the complaint process, and the later ending of their employment is an entirely separate matter,” the force explained.

“We strive to promote a culture of transparency and welcome greater scrutiny of our actions. We have therefore referred this case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“We will also work closely with our local independent scrutiny group, comprised of members of the public, to review this incident and consider any further learnings.”