‘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.
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Channel 4 News will reveal tonight unpublished research which claims that for the past decade detections, prosecutions and convictions in rape cases has remained virtually unchanged – and that attrition,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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