A daughter of the late entertainer Des O’Connor is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police after a detective who told her she was “amazingly hot” during an investigation was allowed to keep his job.
Kristina O’Connor was sent numerous inappropriate messages by Detective Chief Inspector James Mason after he responded to her report of an attempted robbery.
The senior officer asked her out to dinner while taking her statement about the incident, in which she was assaulted by a group of men trying to steal her phone in October 2011.
DCI Mason, who went on to work alongside Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, then sent Ms O’Connor a series of personal emails including one telling her she was “amazingly hot”.
Following her complaint about DCI Mason, who was a detective sergeant at the time of the incident, he was found guilty of gross misconduct last year at a police misconduct hearing.
The Met Police has confirmed he remains a serving officer and lawyers for Ms O’Connor are now seeking a judicial review of how the investigation was handled.
They argue the force “failed to properly investigate” the complaint as a case of gender discrimination.
Ms O’Connor, now 33, said: “I no longer trust the police. I feel that I am as likely to be abused by a police officer as I am by anyone else and perhaps even more likely, as I’ve seen that police officers can harm people with impunity.
“I am fearful of having to call or depend upon the police.
“I feel appalled that the officer in question is still serving… I question what it takes for an officer to be dismissed. It makes a mockery of the misconduct process that he continues to serve.”
It is the latest in a series of controversies to face the Met Police whose commissioner Dame Cressida has been put “on notice” by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The force has faced heavy criticism since PC Wayne Couzens abducted, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard last March.
A report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) this week revealed highly offensive language used on WhatsApp and in Facebook chats by officers from a now disbanded team based in Westminster, primarily at Charing Cross police station.
Solicitor Nancy Collins said Ms O’Connor’s case pointed to “more than just a rotten apple” within the police force.
She said: “(Ms O’Connor) was subjected to this terrible misogynistic culture which meant that she suffered this abuse by the officer investigating her crime.
“When she then decided to step forward and complain about this, the Met – I think because the culture of misogyny is so deep-rooted – failed to recognise that her complaint had raised issues of sex discrimination and, we say, didn’t adequately investigate it.”
When Ms O’Connor attended the misconduct hearing, she felt “very excluded” after she was left waiting in the building after the panel had gone home having reached its decision, Ms Collins added.
Ms O’Connor said: “My experience of the misconduct hearing was terrible. There was a complete lack of care and support for me as a victim.”
The Met Police confirmed it was aware of the judicial review but said it was not prepared to discuss the case further.
“We recognise there is a need for real change in the Met,” a force spokesperson said.
“Any victim of crime should have the confidence and trust to come to police to receive the support and professionalism they rightfully expect.
“Where this does not happen, we want to know about it so any learning and, if appropriate, disciplinary action can be taken.”
The IOPC said Ms O’Connor had not appealed when it decided the case should be investigated as gross misconduct.
A spokesman for the watchdog said it made this call “based on the information provided” to it by officers who conducted the initial inquiries into the complaint.
The spokesman added: “The IOPC agrees there is serious public concern about abuse of position by police officers for the purposes of sexual gain, which should be taken into account when assessing the degree to which confidence in policing may have been undermined and the appropriate sanction.”