Police pay-out to woman over rape case complaint

A police force paid out £3,500 in compensation to a woman after she complained about the way a rape was investigated.

The 38-year-old woman launched legal proceedings against Cambridgeshire Police after she claimed they failed to investigate her attack properly.



A force spokeswoman said a letter of apology was sent to the woman and compensation was paid to her in an out-of-court settlement.



She said one officer was disciplined for failing "to investigate a matter expeditiously".



She said another was given words of warning after it was found that record-keeping was "wanting".



The spokeswoman said: "Cambridgeshire Constabulary made no admission of liability in this case.



"However, a letter of apology was issued which apologised for any distress or anxiety caused and we can confirm that £3,500 was paid in an out-of-court settlement.



"The civil claim followed from a complaint that had been made by the claimant over an allegation of sexual assault.



"The record-keeping of one officer was found to be wanting and another officer was found to have failed to investigate a matter expeditiously. The first officer received words of advice and the second a superintendent's written warning."













The woman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, contacted police in December 2005 but when she called again in February 2006 she discovered officers had not looked into her claim, said her lawyer Harriet Wistrich.

The woman employed Ms Wistrich's services and launched legal action, claiming the force's lack of action had breached her human rights.



"She was unwell when she first contacted police and a few months later, when she was better, she contacted them again and found out they had done nothing and had left the file under a number of papers on a desk," said Ms Wistrich.



The solicitor said that vital CCTV evidence showing the attacker and his victim at a cash point after the incident had been destroyed during the time lapse.



"People who are particularly vulnerable are often seen as more difficult cases and sometimes the police seem to be lazy and not bother investigating because it is harder to get a conviction," said Ms Wistrich.



She added: "Police should take seriously any rape complaints."



Campaigners said a high number of rapes reported by vulnerable people end up being "no crimed".



"This case shows that rape cases are not being treated with the priority and professionalism that they deserve," said Sharon Smee, justice policy officer of the Fawcett Society.



"Research shows that victims with a vulnerability are more likely to have their cases 'no crimed'.



"There is a desperate need for training with initial responses in rape investigations."



Earlier this year the Fawcett Society released figures suggesting that Cambridgeshire Constabulary had one of the lowest rates for rape in England and Wales.



The figures, which cover the period of 2006 to 2007, show only 3.1 per cent of rape claims to the force ended in a conviction.



The lowest rate of conviction was in Dorset, where only 1.6 per cent of rapes ended in a successful conviction. The national average was only 7 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore