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Make Rape A Strict Liability Offence For On-Duty Police Officers

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The conviction of Daniel Holtzclaw for eighteen sexual offences including rape and oral rape could have been avoided, so too could and can sexual offences by predators with badges by one simple reform. Namely, a police officer who has sexual relations with a member of the public while on duty must be deemed guilty by virtue of the act itself. There should be no defence of consent anymore than there would be for a man who has sex with a ten year old girl. This would avoid embarrassing incidents like that of the recently acquitted Stephen Maiorino, who had sex with a woman on the hood of his patrol car, an act he claimed was consensual. Police officers are paid to protect the public not to rape them nor to engage in consensual sex while on duty.

 Another simple reform could drastically reduce the incidence of police brutality, including shootings, especially in the United States. This would be to make the police union rather than the county, the state or the government liable in tort for their actions. This would lead not only to a reduction in police misbehaviour, it would also ensure that civil actions would be settled promptly, and with appropriate admission of liability instead of as is the current practice, the police fighting all the way to the court door, then settling with no admission and paying the plaintiff’s costs and damages out of public funds.

People who are not held to account for their bad acts have no incentive to change, that includes police officers as much as anyone else.

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