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Corruption Found in Rape Prosecution Unit in London

Corruption Found in Rape Prosecution Unit in London

In late May, the BBC stated that reports of rape went up 53% over the last four years in the London area. 661 people were charged in 2011-2012 in cases of sexual assault. The Metropolitan Police spokesman claims that the number of sexual assualts reported in the current year reflects the growing confidence victims feel when coming forward.

However, the BBC’s report also stated that the number of reported rapes in London sat at about 3,334 from 2011 to 2012, an unsettlingly high number. Although many officials have claimed an increase in resources for women that are assualted, such as safe havens and safer transportation options in the city, many victims still feel particularly fragile when approaching the police.

Part of the problem rests with the issues of corruptiont that riddle the Sapphire unit, the very group of officers meant to protect victims. Investigations have revealed corrupt officers within the ranks of the unit itself.

This past Friday, a detective constable was arrested on suspicions that he did not follow the course of justice in researching rape cases, thereby letting guilty men walk free.

The Guardian reports that, “Colleagues raised allegations that he had altered crime documents by inserting statements from the Crown Prosecution Service and senior officers to indicate that no charges were to be brought in rape and sexual abuse cases when no such decision had been made.”

The constable, who remains unnamed at this point, was involved in 63 cases of assault, 26 of which he claimed were completed when they were still only partially investigated. The unnamed constable is not the only man in the unit found guilty of misconduct in his professional activities.

Just last week, another Sapphire officer, Ryan Coleman-Farrow, was charged with 13 counts of misconduct. Coleman-Farrow was charged with falsifying documents and generally failing to complete investigations into rape and sexual assault cases.

These arrests may very well buckle the supposed increase in confidence in the police to handle sexual assualt cases over the last few years. The conduct of these two officers increases the perception that police will not believe a victim when they decide to come forward.

The Sapphire unit has claimed massive reform movements after they failed to catch two serial rapists in the early 2000s, men that had crossed police radar multiple times. It seems these claims to reform will be questioned again in the aftermath of two Sapphire unit arrests in just a number of weeks.

The Sapphire website claims that the unit boasts of “specially trained officers, who have to attend a rigorous training course. They ensure that the immediate physical, mental and welfare needs of the victim are met.”

These words ring hollow in the wake of a third investigation into Sapphire, which is questioning the functioning of an entire Southwark unit between 2008 and 2009. The damage to confidence in police reliability will be seriously injured by these new cases, making it more difficult for victims to come forward.

Scotland Yard has urged any women who have been assualted to come forward to police if they feel they were rebuffed by police during the investigation of their cases over the last few years. The question remains, how many women will want to return to police if they were not taken seriously the first time around?

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50 comments

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10:11AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

The obvious solution might be to can them all and train and hire only women to comprise their rape units... won't happen, though, (as it seems that) men will always be the final arbiters of whether an act of violence (and/or injustice) has occurred... or not.

It seems it is feared that an all-female unit might believe far too many girls and women claiming to have been raped, and too many "innocent" men may end up behind bars... all on the word of females who just couldn't relax enough to enjoy the very special gift they were being given... the rapists' attention and more.

4:15PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

obviously these men need further training ........ disgusting is it laziness or something else - sexism?

10:22AM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

I was sexually assaulted in Turkey somme years ago. The assault, though violent, lasted about 5 minutes at most, though it was very frightening as the guy was obviously mad and I didn't know whether or not he'd end by killing me.
I then spent five hours with the police, who told me they took such attacks very seriously indeed. It involved going back to the site of the attack several times, to meet different police groups. The policeman who spoke English stayed with me until their initial investigations were complete - well beyond the end of his shift, I suspect.
Although they didn't manage to find the guy who'd done it, they posted police in all the dark areas for the next couple of weeks, and when I returned to the town the next year I noticed these areas now had additional street lighting.
How very different from the London situation.

6:13AM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

Too many people, let alone police officiers, give scant importance to the violence of rape. Too many people equate it with a sex act, not an illegal, violent crime.
Too, I think some people just prefer to blame the victim.
Sometimes I think things will never change!

6:14PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

unfortunately, this is common everywhere. In the US, reporting of sexual assault from 1993 to 2012 as increased from 10% to 25%, the the prosecution rate remains the same, which is 10%. this is so heartbreaking

12:40PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

Rape is NOT a sexual act, but IS an act of VIOLENCE! The weapon of choice for this act of violence is the perpetrator's 'wee willy wonka'. Perhaps Loreena Bobbitt had the right idea.

The officers noted should be tried and fired. And perhaps some new proceedures such as a woman detective in charge of any rape unit; review of all files by a trained female constable; and more comprehensive education of officers and the general public.

11:33AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

when will things become better for women????

9:41AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

I used to want to move to England, these days it's worse than Canada.

9:25AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

I was a Courtroom usher in the UK and many men walked free because the jury did not believe the victim even when she was brave enough to get in the witness box and be cross examined as if she were the defendant.
.

7:50AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

muzz be the season of the witch.........ssssshhhhhhhhhhh!

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