Editorial: More rape questions for the Met

 

Share
Related Topics

The latest inquiry into one of London’s Sapphire sexual crime units makes for shocking reading. According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, victims of rape in Southwark were pressured into retracting their complaints, in order to boost local performance statistics. Not only were the women themselves inexcusably let down. In one case, an attacker thus let off the hook went on to commit murder.

The irony is that the capital’s Sapphire programme was supposedly a sign of progress. Rape campaigners have long complained that the balance of justice is tilted away from rape victims – hence the woeful conviction rates. Part of the problem is the difficulty of establishing “beyond reasonable doubt” for an offence that often pits one person’s word against another’s. No less of an issue is encouraging traumatised victims – many of whom fear they will not be believed – to trust often insensitive institutional procedures. Specialist sexual crime units were meant to address the problem. Yet Sapphire has now been the subject of no fewer than nine investigations and appalling levels of misconduct have been revealed.

The only – slight – consolation is that Sapphire has now been fundamentally reorganised. Since 2009, all 32 local units have come under central control, and working practices have been revised. Another question remains unanswered, however. Some 19 officers have been disciplined, three dismissed and one convicted over Sapphire malpractice. But several others have escaped with nothing more serious than a slap on the wrist, despite pressure from the police watchdog for their dismissal. Two have even been promoted.

The Met claims to have learned from the failures of the past. But such assertions ring hollow indeed in the face of evidence that – once again – the police have put the protection of their own above the claims of justice. It is bad enough that so serious a crime as rape was ever treated with such contempt. That Scotland Yard apparently fails to see it that way is almost worse.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments