The Independent Police Complaints Comission (IPCC) has published a report highlighting failings in the working practices of the Southwark Sapphire Unit - a police department dedicated to investigating serious sexual violence.
It found that officers there wrote off allegations as "no crimes", so they could reduce the number of unsolved cases on their books and meet official crime detection targets.
Ronke Phillips reports.
When you report, the police will initially only ask you a few basic questions, like the time and place of the attack, some of the details of the attack and a description of the attacker. Thepolice will take only brief notes at this stage.
They will make another date to take a full statement from you, and will refer you to a specialist team dealing with sexual offences if one exists in your area. Every London borough has one of these, called a Sapphire Team.
If the rape is recent, they will arrange for you to be examined by a police doctor.
- Always take somebody sympathetic with you when dealing in person with any authorities.
- Do a brief summary of your case (try to put it on a single paragraph.) It will help you explain it to others and get support.
- Keep a detailed account of everything that has happened to you in date order, and any further intimidation or sighting your attacker.
The Women's Resource Centre, a charity which supports women's organisations has condemned Metropolitan Police after an IPCC report found officers had pressurised women to drop rape claims:
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has criticised the practises of a London borough's Met Police rape unit. They called their failings 'deeply disturbing.'
The IPCC has a said that rape victims in a London borough werewrongly pressured into withdrawing their allegations in an attempt to improvecrime figures.
In the damning report by the police watchdog,they found that officers in Southwark wrote off allegations as 'no crimesso they could reduce the number of unsolved cases on their books and meetofficial crime detection targets.
In the most serious case a double killer remained free after detectives failed to investigate an earlier rape allegation against him.
He also had a history of violence and went onto to kill his eight-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.
The findings follow scandals over the Met’s investigations into the black-cab rapist John Worboys and serial sex attacker Kirk Reid.
The IPCC called the failings “deeply disturbing” and accused police of “losing sight” of their role.
The Metropolitan Police has issued the following statement in reaction to a highly-critical report on practices in the Southwark Sapphire Unit, a department dedicated to investigating rapes.
IPCC Deputy Chair Deborah Glass said:
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:
The Independent Police Complaints Comission (IPCC) has published a report highlighting failings in the working practices of the Southwark Sapphire Unit - a police department dedicated to investigating rapes and other cases of serious sexual violence.