28 Feb 2014

Culture of disbelief’: has the Met failed sex crimes victims?

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe will today face a crossroads brought on failures to stop the country’s most prolific serial rapist during the five years he was terrorising London.

Two of black cab driver John Worboys’ victims have used the Human Rights Act to bring an unprecedented legal action against the force and will today learn if they’re successful.

Bernard Hogan-Howe Starts First Day In Office As Metropolitan Police Commissioner(Above: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe)

They are seeking a declaration that their rights were violated by a ‘culture of disbelief’ that ran through the Met’s specialist sex crimes unit in the previous decade and by the inability of senior ranks to ensure that the strategy for dealing with this very sensitive area of policing actually worked.

I have talked at length to the very first victim who went to police in 2003, wasn’t believed and who as a consequence spent the next 10 years blaming herself for 103 other women Worboys went on to attack.

Many of them also faced the same scepticism from the very officers specially assigned but not trained to deal with such cases.

If the women win it will be the first time a police force, rather than individual officers, has been held accountable for failing in its duty to protect the public.

And there’s worse.

The commissioner’s “credibility gap” in this area of crime is also about to take an equally damaging blow from a former senior adviser.

Channel 4 News will reveal tonight unpublished research which claims that for the past decade detections, prosecutions and convictions in rape cases has remained virtually unchanged – and that attrition, the rate at which cases are discontinued, has gone from bad to worse.

Just how transparent are the Metropolitan police prepared to be?

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4 reader comments

  1. Chris Forest -Potter says:

    Of course the police force has failed these woman. Its time they were brought to account for their actions

    1. ann bxter says:

      Well said Women cannot trust some policemen who also take advantage while on duty. Nothing ever said about it .

  2. Gill says:

    I watched the interview with the met officer its a total joke, most women who have been raped are fully aware of the culture of disbelief, that’s why many crimes go unreported. Many intelligent women choose not to report such crimes as they are fully aware of the lack of respect to treat the crime of rape equally with other crimes. The thing is if all of the women in Britain who have been raped stepped forward the met office would not be able to cope! As for them treatment of women who step forward and are brave enough to report the crime being treated fairly, is totally untrue. A professional female I know did so last year was told she was over reacting! The police are living in prehistoric times! The culture is changing, regarding women and children reporting these crimes. I suggest the police, the met and all professional parties drag themselves into the present day, the walls of silent victims is crumbling fast!

  3. j phillips says:

    There is a huge problem with conviction rates and cases even getting to court because of a lack of physical evidence. Rape causes a very specific set of feelings and behaviours for its victims that are as measurable as any ‘physical evidence’, when are police, judges and jurys going to start taking the mental effects of rape as evidence? Contrary to popular belief the level of distress and effects a rape has on a persons mental state cannot be faked.

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