The police seem to be unwilling to investigate allegations of rape. Why?

(152 Posts)
Solopower Sat 09-Jun-12 15:46:19

It seems that the police are still not taking rape seriously as a crime. Either they don't believe the victim, or they just think it would be too difficult to prove - but why are they letting (mainly) women down like this?

Solopower Sat 09-Jun-12 15:49:51

How many local police forces have a dedicated team of trained people ready to deal with the aftermath of an allegation of rape? I mean as well as the detectives there should be medical people, psychologists and counsellors on hand, mostly female, as this is a crime that affects mostly women and children.

Shouldn't every police force have a team like this?

And why is the conviction rate so low (7%?)?

Putthatbookdown Sat 09-Jun-12 17:11:49

Most police forces do have specially trained officers-one male and one female will interview both parties. It is not the police but juries who do not convict: the police may well catch up with a rapist but cannot influence a jury. Anyone accused of a criminal offence has to be proven gulity on the basis of evidence : as there are rarely any witnesses to this crime it is one person's word against the other.To make things worse most victims know their attacker -which can be tricky. Also the police will consider the risk to society as a whole with all crimes -hence they will spend months tracking down drugs dealers but say a woman complaining about her ex will not attract the same attention Ultimately it is society to blame . Also rape attracts a stiff penalty and juries will not convict unless there is sufficient evidence-in fact all juries are directed to acquit if there is insufficient evidence. To prove rape the attacker must know the victim did not consent and carried on regardless : this has to be established before a charge can be made. I blame society.

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 09-Jun-12 17:21:28

the force i work within has a specially trained team - though they are not always working when we need them. It is an area i would like to get into.

i have encountered some seriously troublesome views within CID when i have worked on alleged rape cases, though not so much in uniformed officers.

that said - the case in point is a one off and i cannot seriously believe that this (as in the article) happens as a matter of course.

I did quite extensive work with a psychologist from rape crisis - and rape unfortunately is horribly difficult to prove from a police point of view, and often the CPS decide not to run a case if there is little chance of conviction.

Putthatbookdown Sat 09-Jun-12 17:23:17

The law is an ass. Do you remember years ago the guys that broke into the vicar's house nearly killed him and raped his daughter? Then the maximum penalty for rape was life but the attacker only got a few years. I mean he should have got the maximum as they broke into someone's home and raped a person sitting quietly at home. I cannot think of a more "unwilling"victim. I think the original reason was robbery which is bad but lets leave it at that. No one should be hurt-if they are then the max sentence should be given. Perhaps society care more about money than people

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 17:35:41

putthatbookdown what do you think about what the linked article says about the police?

Incidentally (and related) there was some very interesting evidence from brian paddick at the leveson enquiry. He said that when he was the assistant thingy top brass type, he was concerned about rape and the met ordered an enquiry/report into the way rape was handled by the met. He said that the content of the report was that the met were failing badly, it was a really damning report. Apparently the original document was ordered to be watered down significantly, to make it less damning. And then it was quietly shelved and not released to anyone.

Absolutely appalling and the actions of the officers in the article are disgraceful but unfortunately not that surprising.

It is well known that there are fundamental issues in investigation of sex crimes around the world and the UK is no exception. Look at the different levels of "no criming" rape reports around the UK and you will see straight away that something is amiss.

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 17:36:43

And clearly the conviction rate is going to be low if the police aren't investigating properly.

putmybookdown no rape victims are willing.

Putthatbookdown Sat 09-Jun-12 17:57:34

I do not mean that rape victims are willing : I merely pointed out that even in an extreme case where a house was broken into and the evidence is 100% clear that this was rape even then the punishment was not that harsh. Hence if a woman in a less clear cut scenario accuses a man of rape she is going to stand less chance. I have been on a jury in such a case and 2 of my friends were raped. I have seen the reality of it all and the defence will always try to infer the victim was willing to get the guy off. Sadly juries seem to fall for this. No victim is willing. My friends weren't. My friend was raped at a party by her fiance's "friend" She was asked the most ridiculous things like why did she go into the room with him -it was where the coats were. All this was done to plant a doubt in the mind that she was asking for it somehow. The law then permitted such idiotic things backed by some of the judges no doubt

Putthatbookdown Sat 09-Jun-12 18:05:17

Rape is about power.Remember that

mirry2 Sat 09-Jun-12 18:10:42

Now that that DNA evidence means that rapists can't deny that sex took place, they will say the victim was willing and that they believed she or he gave consent. Sadly juries seem to believe them.

Solopower Sat 09-Jun-12 18:18:18

Putthatbookdown I agree 100% that society is to blame - for the attitudes of the police, juries and judges and for the fact that rape happens at all.

As an example, it used to be permissable in court to show as evidence for the defence what a woman was wearing. Is this still allowed? On its own, immediately, just allowing that as evidence sends a message to the jury that it is relevant what the woman wore, and could even mean she was to blame for what the rapist did to her. How can that ever be the case?

But how can we change our culture?

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 18:22:27

The article linked is about the police mishandling rape cases.

Clearly if the police are not doing their job properly it will be difficult to bring successful prosecutions.

kirrinIsland Sat 09-Jun-12 18:22:32

I don't think it's a case of "sadly juries seem to believe them" it's that juries must be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that a rape has been committed before they can convict, and in a lot of cases the "evidence" is one person saying it was consensual and the other saying it wasn't - it's hard to be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt in such cases, which is why they often don't even get to court.

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 18:24:01

In fact when cases go to court the conviction rate is similar to other crimes at over 50%.

It is the initial handling of complaints and evidence gathering that are problematical.
Police officers treating victims with suspicion.
"No criming" valid complaints.
All that stuff.

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 18:25:17

Recent cases where people were found not guilty include a man who claimed that he did not speak English and thus could not understand that she was saying no.

Certainly there are plenty of cases that seem to indicate that juries are willing to stretch their credulity enormously.

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 18:27:46

A case on here also where a jury believed that a young woman went down an alleyway to have anal sex with a stranger during her work lunch break.

Some of the stories are just preposterous.

there are issues all the way along the chain.

i would have thought addressing the failings with the police would be a good start though.

Oh yes and not doing things like prosecuting women for "falsely retracting" rape accusations.

Solopower Sat 09-Jun-12 18:40:28

Agreed, SardineQueen.

How can this police culture be changed? What interests me is why it's not their default position to believe a woman who comes in saying she has been raped. If someone knocked on my door and said 'I've been attacked' I would take them at their word. It doesn't seem as if the police give the woman the benefit of the doubt but that they start off by suspecting her of making it up.

In fact, surely it shouldn't matter whether they personally believe her or not. Don't the police have to follow it through in the first instance, regardless, right until all lines of enquiry come to a dead end? I understand that some of the time they are not even doing this.

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 18:43:10

I guess because the police are people and are thus as prone to believing "rape myths" as anyone else.

What i find confusing is why someone who is not on the side of raped women would apply to work in that area of the force.

Solopower Sat 09-Jun-12 18:50:04

Well I think it's unrealistic to expect the police to change their culture, so they need someone in charge who takes the lead on this. The problem is that I'm not sure anyone thinks it's important enough to spend resources on training police to deal with rape cases. sad

When things go wrong with the police, generally they investigate themselves and decide that they are not to blame, so at least something is being done about these police officers (in the article).

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 19:04:01

Thing is the article is taking about officers from the sapphire specialist rape unit.

The people who work in there are supposed to be specially trained to deal with these cases. And instead they are doing all this shit. They have been trained.

It's so weird.

Solopower Sat 09-Jun-12 19:58:26

VicarInaTutu thinks they are the exception, not the rule. I hope so.

But I still think there is something about crimes against women that doesn't elicit the same amount of sympathy/empathy/understanding or, more importantly, action to find the perpetrators.

Is the attitude of the police to male rape any different?

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 20:42:46

It keeps happening, over and over and over again though.

I don't know what the police attitude to male rape is, have never seen any reports or read anything in the papers. I wouldn't like to guess.

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 09-Jun-12 22:46:08

i think if you actually had to weed out the number of allegations that turn out not to be true you might well understand why the police default position on most things - not just rape - tends to be believe no one.

that said, when i have worked on an alleged case of rape our uniformed officers (of which i am one) is brilliant.

it tends to be CID that have to pick through the evidence and so they are the ones that often weed out the liars, and there are those women out there who lie, for whatever reason. i know its difficult to grasp....i know. but its true.

so its difficult. we have a brilliant and dedicated team of officers who deal solely with rape and serious sexual offences in my force. Of the cases they get, most are true, and most are believed.

i do not accept that the story in the OP is the norm - it most certainly is not. its quite insulting actually to all those officers out there who work tirelessly and ceaselessly to bring about convictions for rape.

i am almost - almost -at the point of hiding any thread with the word "police" in the title, because the injustice of what people actually believe of most police officers is just distressing when you know you work your arse off, you give your own time, you take the time to do the extra training and the extra work load, just to get slated time and time and time again by people who actually, when it boils down to it, know diddly squat about what a real police investigation entails.

now im off to bed. gnite.

SardineQueen Sat 09-Jun-12 23:08:18

The rate of false reports of rape is in line with the rate of false reports of other crimes. ie low

Vicar after warboys, reid, and now this, I think it's reasonable to question WTF is going on in there.

This case is of 2 officers in the sapphire specialist rape unit acting against victims. A few years back reid and warboys (warboys also many women reported to the sapphire unit). To say it's a few bad apples is just not right. Say that and nothing will ever be done to improve things.

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 09-Jun-12 23:31:44

if you believe that false reporting on crime is low then i suggest you spend a week working within the police.

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