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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk