Wednesday, 9 July 2008

“So, We’re Giving Up On That ‘Investigating’ Bit Then….?”

Every police force should set up a specialist squad to investigate rape allegations, a senior officer

John Yates, who speaks on the issue for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Ed – them again!), argues such teams would help raise standards of victim care.

They would also help improve conviction rates as rape inquiries are demanding and require specialist skills, he will tell a London conference on the issue.
Well, so far, so unsurprising. Government is being chivvied by women’s pressure groups on the rape conviction rate, and ACPO sees it as a way to improve specialisation career prospects for officers. But this bit caught my eye:
Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said the government was determined to improve rape conviction rates and acknowledged the crime remained under-reported.

He highlighted progress, including the introduction of specially trained officers and prosecutors and better guidance for police.

He added: "Every force has a responsibility to ensure that every single officer who comes into contact with a rape victim is supportive and believes the victim.

"It may only take the raising of an eyebrow to cause her to lose courage
So, how are they supposed to deal with rape claims, if the slightest attempt to do any investigation (especially in ‘her word against his’ cases) might cause the complainant to think that her word is being doubted?

Needless to say, the feminists are delighted at the proposals:
Women's equality group, the Fawcett Society, welcomed the government's drive to improve police responses to victims of rape.

But policy officer Sarah Campbell said: "The fact that only 5.7% of reported rapes lead to a conviction is a national scandal.

"The government needs to drive cultural change within the criminal justice system, to ensure that rape is given a high priority by every police force in the country and to invest in a national network of rape crisis centres."
How exactly is the conviction rate going to go UP if the police put through cases where the complainant’s word has been accepted uncritically? They’ll get torn to shreds by the defence!

No doubt plans to just dispense with the whole unnecessary trial business will follow….


Anonymous said...

Rape is a hideous and emotive crime with often devastating consequences for the victim. Men can be victims as well as women.

It has always been very difficult to successfully prosecute. There are many reasons for this. Some of the more common ones are:

Typically sex (consensual or nonconsensual) occurs in private. There will rarely be any witnesses to the act itself.

Frequently both parties are intoxicated (anyone ever had a shag when they were drunk?) and neither can give a coherent account of events.

Many (most) reported rapes are malicious allegations (and are subsequently withdrawn and admitted as such). This infuriates me as it diverts resources and attention form genuine cases and creates a smokescreen behind which offenders can hide.


Anonymous said...

"Men can be victims as well as women. "

You'd never know that from the newspaper account of the report, would you? Or from Coker's use of the term 'her'...

"It has always been very difficult to successfully prosecute."

Not something that's likely to change with these proposals, either...

Electro-Kevin said...

"Every force has a responsibility to ensure that every single officer who comes into contact with a rape victim is supportive and believes the victim."

Indeed - 'truth' decided without trial.

I'm glad that I'm no longer a policeman. Discretion is no longer a requirement.