Dismissive attitudes towards rape victims persist in the Met

The Guardian reports that despite recent changes in police policy, rape complaints were repeatedly filed as ‘Crime Related Incidents (CRIs)’ rather than as alleged criminal offences in six Metropolitan boroughs last year. CRIs are rarely investigated further, meaning that scores of rape cases may well have been ignored by officers, and were left off official crime statistics. Many of the cases in question involved a woman who feared she may have been raped, but was unsure what happened – the kind of cases where the woman may have been drugged. This is a shocking failure of duty on the part of the officers concerned, belying both a continued belief in the myth that women frequently lie about being raped, and, according to the Guardian’s sources, a desire to try and meet government crime reduction targets:

“It is shocking this has happened for such a serious offence. It could be a reflection of the pressure the police are under from the Home Office to improve the clear-up rate and reduce reported crime.”

“If you get a case where there is no evidence, and record it as a rape, some people will say we would never have a chance of hitting targets. My view is you might not be able to prove it, but record it, investigate it, get evidence.”

The latter attitude is now police policy following failure to properly record allegations made by victims of the taxi driver rapist John Worboys, and the increased prevalence of officers taking rape victims seriously resulted in a 25% increase in recorded rapes in London over the past year, so we can only hope that continued focus on the way in which rape victims are treated will root out the remaining offenders. Of course, taking the victim seriously enough in order to record the incident as a crime is only the first step in achieving justice for rape victims, and the likelihood of these women seeing their attacker brought to justice is appalling small. Depressingly, former senior Met officer Brian Paddick sees little chance that things will change in the current climate:

“There is not the political will in government and the Home Office to put resources into place, which the offence requires, to bring people to justice.”

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