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Ex-Hampshire police officer Rhianon Argent takes part in groundbreaking 'Asking For It' photography exhibition



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A PHOTO project challenging victim-blaming has been joined by a former New Milton-based female police officer who left Hampshire Constabulary over the way it handled her claims a male colleague sexually assaulted her on duty.

Rhianon Argent (34) is part of the award-winning Asking For It, a series of mugshots by photographer and activist Jayne Jackson which is on exhibition at Bournemouth University.

Mrs Argent, who now manages a women’s refuge and domestic abuse outreach project, hailed the "amazing photography project", adding: "I see this moment as an opportunity for all police forces to fully assess what is actually happening within their teams."

Rhianon Argent in 'Asking For It' photography exhibition
Rhianon Argent in 'Asking For It' photography exhibition

It was launched in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens and publicity focusing on violence against women.

As reported by the A&T in 2013, Mrs Argent complained to Hampshire police’s professional standards department she had been sexually assaulted by a colleague on duty.

The department investigated but did not find enough evidence to lay charges. Mrs Argent described being "interrogated" by officers who showed "a complete lack of empathy".

Rhianon Argent said a professional standards officer warned she "should expect attention" for being attractive
Rhianon Argent said a professional standards officer warned she "should expect attention" for being attractive

When later informed the investigation did not uncover enough evidence to charge the officer, she claimed a professional standards officer warned she "should expect attention" for being attractive – a remark reported by a senior officer who was a witness.

The male officer accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, kept his job at Hampshire police after the complaint but received a warning. He is no longer with the force.

The exhibit runs until 9th November with an online opinion survey available at www.askingforit.net



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