Trainee detectives put in charge of rape cases

// 1 May 2005

Trainee detectives without enough experience for the job are being put in charge of investigating rape cases in London because of a lack of resources, The Observer reports today.

Could this be one of the reasons that rape convictions have hit an all time low? According to the Home Office, only 5.6% of recorded cases of rape end in conviction.

The rules state that only experienced detectives are allowed to serve in the Metropolitan police’s well-regarded Sapphire units, which deal with cases like rape, prostitution and trafficking. However, the Observer quotes one detective “Bob”:

“His first eight-month placement was on one of the busiest inner-city Sapphire units where, within two months, he had to take sole responsibility for highly complex rape investigations.

‘I simply didn’t have the experience and desperately wanted … to get it in a less stressful department before being put in a position of such responsibility,’ he said.”

A longer article in today’s Observer reveals that reforms in the Metropolitan police have not gone far enough, while moving through the criminal justice system remains a traumatic experience for victims.

Myths prevail, such as the majority of rape allegations are false. Only 3% of rape allegations are malicious or false, according to figures quoted in the Observer.

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