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More constables in reshuffle

The majority of the 100 extra officers will be of constable rank, and the unit will lose Det Ch Supt Duthie, who will become head of homicide next month, and one superintendent.

He stressed that officers will retain their specialisms in terms of the types of crime they investigate.

"This is a high-risk area and we need to make sure that we've got the right people with the right training."There would be a danger if we were to use 'omnicompetent' officers. But we've made a conscious decision that this is a high-risk area, we need to have dedicated officers investigating dedicated types of crime."

– Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie

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Officer numbers boosted

Scotland Yard Credit: PA

It comes after a number of failings. Detectives at a unit in Southwark were found to have pressured victims to drop charges to boost performance figures.

Today the current head of the central Sapphire command Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie said officer numbers dealing with sexual exploitation including grooming gangs would be boosted.

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Video: Met's anti-rape strategy

It is being hailed as a radical police strategy to tackle rape. It's being done by the Met's sex crime unit, and it could lead to pubs and clubs being shut down if assaults take place on their premises.

But rape campaigners aren't convinced that it will help women who've lost confidence in the police, because of previous problems at the unit. Here's Ronke Phillips.

Met statement on sex offences initiative

The Metropolitan Police has published the following statement on its crackdown on sexual offences:

"The Met remains committed to tackling rape and serious sexual offences. Sapphire [Command] investigate thousands of allegations each year and seek to bring as many offenders to justice as possible, and offer support alongside the Havens, to the victims of this crime.

"As part of this commitment, we are also increasing supervision of our officers, running a publicity campaign later in the year to raise awareness of what support is available for victims, continuing to analyse intelligence, and increasing the number of offenders we arrest and working in partnership with the pub and club industry to ensure licensing laws are upheld."

  1. Ronke Phillips, Crime Correspondent

Ronke Phillips offers her analysis on the Met's crackdown on sex offences

It is radical, unprecedented and is bound to be controversial - the use of licensing laws to shut down pubs and clubs which have been associated with higher than average levels of rape and sexual assault.

The strategy is the initiatiave of DCI Mick Duthie, the Met's new head of Sapphire, the unit which deals with sex crimes.

He plans to:

• Use the licensing laws for the first time to shut down pubs and clubs which generate a high level of rape and sexual assault.

• Use covert police tactics to target men who have never been charged and convicted of rape, but where intelligence suggests they are perpetrators.

• Initiate a hard-hitting prevention campaign, to target male behaviour and speak to women about reducing their vulnerability.

• Increase supervision of his officers by restructuring Sapphire into five or six large regional teams.

Women's groups have dismissed the initiative as a "diversion". What's needed, according to campaigners, is thorough unbiased investigations and prosecutions so rapists are caught and convicted, and rape is discouraged.

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