An IPCC report into a Metropolitan Police unit dedicated to investigating rapes, and other serious sexual offences, has found that officers were encouraged to take retraction statements from victims in cases they thought might not reach the standard for prosecution.
The IPCC said today:
"This investigation found that during this period the Southwark Sapphire unit was under-performing and over-stretched, and officers of all ranks, often unfamiliar with sexual offence work, felt under pressure to improve performance and meet targets. Victims were questioned closely by a Detective Constable before they met an officer trained in dealing with sex crimes to ensure crimes were classified correctly.
"The unit also adopted its own standard operating procedure designed to encourage officers to take retraction statements from victims in cases where it was thought they might later withdraw or not reach the standard for prosecution. By increasing the number of incidents that were then classified as ‘no crime’, sanction-detection rates improved and the performance statistics for the unit benefited."