IPCC: Police "lost sight of what policing is about"

IPCC Deputy Chair Deborah Glass said:

“Today’s report brings to an end the IPCC’s involvement in this sorry chapter of the Sapphire Unit’s history.

“The approach of failing to believe victims in the first instance was wholly inappropriate. The pressure to meet targets as a measure of success, rather than focusing on the outcome for the victim, resulted in the police losing sight of what policing is about – protecting the public and deterring and detecting crime......

“.....Since 2009, when the unit came under central command, Sapphire has changed considerably and continues to evolve.

“But given the number of cases where the MPS’s response to victims has failed, either through individual officers’ criminality or neglect or more systemic problems of training, priorities and resources, the response that “lessons have been learned” begins to ring hollow. That is why I asked representatives of those who actually deal with victims to advise me of their experience of whether lessons have indeed been learned and I am very grateful to those who attended a meeting at the IPCC in December 2012 for sharing their expertise.

“It is encouraging that this experience has, for the most part, improved considerably, though there is still more to be done....

“....The MPS must now ensure that this improvement is built on and continues – and remain vigilant to ensure that they do not lose focus on this area as other policing priorities emerge, or as they face further pressure on resources.”

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