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AIBU to want this police officer disciplined? *Updated!*

(76 Posts)
ahundredacre Wed 25-May-16 19:01:38

I was raped in the summer of 2014, by a man I met on internet dating after my husband left me. The rape was terrifying and traumatic. Initially, I tried to be strong and pretend I was fine and that it didn't matter. But it did matter, and I reported it to the police 10 months later.

From what I can work out, the specialist police officers who dealt with my case simply didn't believe me, or, couldn't be bothered to do the work involved in the investigation. I'm pretty certain they just didn't believe me. They didn't do the work properly on my case, and I'm devastated and so let down.

I've followed the official police complaints process, and the rape is being reinvestigated - far more successfully this time, by a different team of officers, although I know it may be too late now. The other side though, is that the original police officers are just being given 'words of advice', rather than being looked at for misconduct/disciplinary action.

The main things that went wrong are that I told them that the man confessed and apologised by text message shortly after the rape, and they said they would search for his phone to look for the messages, but they never did. Instead they just phoned him, and arranged to interview him voluntarily at an appointment the following week - giving him plenty of time to destroy any evidence. He might not have still had the phone/messages anyway, but you never know until you look.

Then, they didn't take statements from all the witnesses that I had named, which the investigation into my complaint and the reinvestigation has discovered would have brought lots more relevant information into the picture. They took two statements, but they were not the correct/appropriate statements, and failed to take the statements that were relevant to the investigation. Apparently the officer concerned 'missed an email' which led to that happening, as the email contained the full list of witnesses that should have had statements taken from them. I feel like that is a pretty poor excuse?

And finally, the officer in charge of my case was terrible at contacting me, she would constantly say she would call me and then not do it, left me an answer phone message that cut out half way through but didn't call back, not respond to my requests to speak to her or be updated, that sort of thing. She was really dismissive on the phone, and had a sort of casual attitude as if she was talking about the weather, and I found it really hard to tolerate. She didn't empathise with me, or seem to care about what I said or felt.

All of those things have been identified and accepted as 'failings'. The investigation into the complaint says that they should have arrested him, they should have searched for the phone, they should have taken all the statements properly, the communication should have been better, and the officer should have been better supervised. But, as a result of the failings, a rapist will still be out there to potentially rape another woman, but the police officer in question has not only not been disciplined, but has been promoted. They've excused the failings as being a result of a high workload and the officer being inexperienced. (Yes, inexperienced - yet being promoted to a position where she will supervise other officers? Does this sound strange to anyone else?) If she had done the investigation properly, they might have got a confession in text messages, lots of evidence from other witnesses, and taken it to court. Instead, they made me feel worthless and like what happened to me is unimportant and not worth investigating.

I'm trying to appeal the decision not to pass my complaint onto misconduct proceedings. I'm trying to write the appeal letter now, but I'm so exhausted I can hardly string the words together and feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, like the police are accountable to nobody, so what is the point. Am I being unreasonable? Was this really a genuine error that shouldn't be looked at any more? Should I just let this drop now?

BurningBridges Wed 25-May-16 19:05:33

It doesn't sound like a genuine error, it sounds like incompetence which has cost you dearly. I am so sorry this has happened to you.

I'm thinking there is an agency or charity that would help you write the appeal letter, I'll have a google, but someone more knowledgeable will be along shortly. Do you want to ask HQ to move this to another topic? No one is going to say YABU but you need solid advice and I am not sure you'll get it here.

Misnomer Wed 25-May-16 19:08:08

I'm really sorry, OP. That all sounds like a horrendous experience. I don't know anything about the procedure you are going through with your complaint but I didn't want to read and run. Are there guidelines available that make it clear in what grounds you can complain/appeal and what the likely outcomes could be?
flowers

Therealloislane Wed 25-May-16 19:08:51

Aw you poor thing.

I have no advice but I didn't want to read and run.

Hopefully someone with experience will be along soon & can advise you.

kitkat1968 Wed 25-May-16 19:12:35

What are you going to gain, even in the unlikely event the officer is disciplined?

AnyFucker Wed 25-May-16 19:13:15

That is terrible.

Have you taken advice from the Independent Police Complaints Commission ?

Skittlesss Wed 25-May-16 19:16:41

As far as I know "words of advice" is one of the outcomes of disciplinary investigations after professional standards have looked at the case.

Was your report discontinued by the inspector or after taking CPS advice?

DeadGood Wed 25-May-16 19:17:37

"What are you going to gain, even in the unlikely event the officer is disciplined?"

What an odd thing to say.

OP, I'm so sorry about what happened to you. I wouldn't let it go personally, as it sounds like you are (rightly) vey aggrieved at the outcome here.

The only reason to let it drop would be if you think it would make your life easier and allow you to move on. But it does sound as if this person is not capable of doing her job.

Skittlesss Wed 25-May-16 19:17:45

Should have said - it isn't just someone getting told off by their sergeant. It is a result of a proper internal investigation.

BurningBridges Wed 25-May-16 19:19:43

OP please ignore comments like kitkat - that's why I suggest you report your own thread and get it moved - AF can you suggest a better topic for this to come under? It doesn't matter what is gained or not gained, you don't let something like that drop just because there's no "gain" to be had FFS.

OK I've done some digging and there some abuse/rape/women's charities who would advise but its a question of do you want to ask someone for help. Not only could they help write the complaint, but they could also help you answer your question "should I do this?"

Here's some to start with, apologies if you have these details already:

www.rapecrisis.org.uk/

www.rasasc.org.uk/

www.thesurvivorstrust.org/

www.womensaid.org.uk/

AnyFucker Wed 25-May-16 19:21:30

Yes, I am not sure AIBU is the best place for this thread, OP

How about legal matters or relationships ?

Do you have legal representation at all ? Are you in a union ?

DeadGood Wed 25-May-16 19:23:53

" you suggest a better topic for this to come under? It doesn't matter what is gained or not gained, you don't let something like that drop just because there's no "gain" to be had FFS."

Exactly.

AnyFucker Wed 25-May-16 19:25:37

There are always a few dicks on AIBU.

AristotlesTrousers Wed 25-May-16 19:37:29

I'm so so sorry this happened to you, ahundredacre. flowers

I think the way your case has been handled is fucking disgusting. It's hard enough to report rape in the first place, but if this is the sort of thing that happens, then no wonder women are reluctant to take it further.

I applaud your bravery in chasing this up and seeing justice done. I wish I had the guts to complain to the police about how they handled my rape from over 20 years ago (one day, one day...). I hope you are able to take this as far as you can, and I and others on MN will support you all the way.

SpringHasNearlySprung Wed 25-May-16 19:38:29

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

custardismyhamster Wed 25-May-16 19:38:33

The 'gain' is knowing that this won't happen to someone else in the future. It sounds like the OP is someone who cares about others, and would want the next woman going through the same shit to get justice.

OP, thank you for being strong enough to do this.

legotits Wed 25-May-16 19:43:00

No advice.

Just wanted to say how awful for you, whatever you decide to do I hope you have a smoother time flowers

VenusRising Wed 25-May-16 19:44:18

I think? Kickat was wondering possibly about the OP's recovery within herself, rather than focussing on any legal case or a disciplining of the police who mis handled her case.

Kitkat's post doesn't come across to me as badly intended as some have taken it up. But as it was posted, I agree it did come across rather bluntly in rather a harsh one liner. I take it as a comment about the OP's recovery, and how she's processing the assault and rape.

Of course how the OP wants to process this is up to her, and if she feels that the added betrayal by the police compounds the assault, then that's an entirely valid feeling, and up to her.

oP I do hope you find support in the rape crisis centres free counselling.
They have lawyers also for support and advocacy.

IME of trauma, it's better to look after your own internal reaction and survival than spend your energy solely following up on police incompetence.
Getting angry with a third party can be a distraction from the really scary work of going through and processing the assault and rape.

I wish you all the best OP.
I'm really sorry this happened to you, and it wasn't your fault in any way.
I'm sorry too that the police have let you down. It seems dreadfully unfair, and I hope that you can find the strength to ring the RCC and get support to get through this. flowers

ahundredacre Wed 25-May-16 19:44:42

I suppose the reason I posted it in AIBU, is because the inspector who is dealing with my complaint is making me feel like I am being unreasonable to keep pursuing this.

I am being advised by a family member who is very knowledgable in this area. So far I've written all the letters to do with the complaint myself, and it has been quite empowering, but now I feel tired. My family member has offered to write this next letter for me, but it feels sort of deceptive, somehow, and I'm worried they might turn around and say the whole reason I've made the complaint is due to them driving it. I'm also in contact with an ISVA, who backs me up and write additional letters but there is a limit to how much she can do other than support me. Would the other organisations listed offer something more?

So far the complaints process has been handled by an inspector within the relevant police force. My appeal this time would go to the head of the professional standards department of that police force. If I go to the IPCC, they will only refer me back to the process I am already on. I think if the professional standards department don't deal with it, I can take it to the IPCC.

I also wrote to my MP, who wrote to someone high and mighty within that police force, to no avail. I also wrote to their police and crime commissioner, but haven't heard back.

I saw on the BBC a few weeks ago, a video posted on social media by the head of a police force making an apology to a family who had complained, even though the police weren't really in the wrong. I know that family had had an awful time, but I felt so deeply wronged. Nobody in the police has apologised to me at any point for all of this, even though I requested an apology. If I as prepared to show my face and go public on Facebook, I bet they'd be falling over themselves to react and do something and apologise. But because it is rape, and I am ashamed, I can't. It feels so unfair. sad

ahundredacre Wed 25-May-16 19:47:58

Also, thank you so much everyone for your support. It means so much to me, like I am finally being heard. All my contact with the police leaves me feeling like I am making a fuss about nothing, and being validated by the posts on here is actually quite a relief.

MrsSpecter Wed 25-May-16 19:49:10

The gain is justice. Its why the justice system exists.

OP i am so sorry for all of this. I cannot believe they didnt arrest him on suspicion of rape but instead asked him to come in for an interview the next week!! On what planet is that the correct procedure? shock

I really do hope you get justice for the rape and for the appalling treatment you received from the police.

PetrolBastard Wed 25-May-16 19:51:00

I think I remember you posting about this originally, if it was you.

I think just saying what you have said here more or less is enough for them to understand how you feel they have let you down.

I know it feels exhausting, but you have done a good job in writing a clear OP.

I know this may sound silly, but let them know what you are expecting to happen now. Just very simply. It doesn't need to be more than a sentence or two.

ahundredacre Wed 25-May-16 19:51:53

Oh and Skittlesss - It was discontinued by the supervising DS (acting DI) before it got to the CPS. The reinvestigation of the rape is going to be taken to the CPS, the man who raped me was arrested as part of the reinvestigation and new evidence found, etc. I won't speak about the reinvestigation further though, in case it does get to court and posting further might impact the case.

Sorry for all the messages in a row!

IamtheZombie Wed 25-May-16 19:52:24

AnyFucker Wed 25-May-16 19:25:37

There are always a few dicks on AIBU.

Only a few, AF? Zombie would have sworn it's a lot more than "a few" recently.

NowSissyThatWalk Wed 25-May-16 19:55:21

Op I'm so sorry this has happened to do. YANBU in any way. Don't want to say too much but know that what you have been through is in no way representative of the police as a whole, and I'm just so sorry that this has been your experience. Genuinely.
Keep perusing it with PSD, it's great that your MP has been involved too. You never know, there maybe more going on behind the scenes than you think, these things can take a very long time.

We're all behind you brewchocolatecake

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