Debrief Staff | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Rape To Be Taken \\\\\\\'As Seriously\\\\\\\' As Terrorism, Police Pledge

Rape To Be Taken 'As Seriously' As Terrorism, Police Pledge

The Debrief: Met police have made promise after it was revealed rape investigations are ‘overwhelming’ them…

Bad news yesterday came in the form that the Metropolitan Police have been ‘overburdened’ with rape cases. Either the rate of rape is going up, or more survivors are feeling confident enough to come forward and speak out about what’s happened to them. Regardless, a report into the authority by Dame Elish Angiolini found a 68% rise in rape and penetrative offences recorded by the Met from 2005-6 to 2013-4, but there was only a 17% increase in charges for those offences.

‘Whatever the reason, it is clear that the increase in reporting is putting an overwhelming burden on staff and concern is expressed about the Metropolitan Police Service's ability to effectively manage its increasing workload,’ Dame Angiolini stated.

And it’s utterly worrying. While more and more people are confident enough to go to the police now, perhaps thanks to high-profile sexual assault cases like the Yewtree investigation, how confident will they be to go to the authorities when there’s an increase in the number of cases dropped before charges are brought? Where do survivors then turn?

Dame Elish has given 46 recommendations for the Met to update its approach to these sorts of cases, such as improved training, enhanced victim care and changing the law so that a drunk no really means no. She explained, reports the BBC: ‘Some of the recommendations will require a willingness to undertake radical change in the approach to these cases’

The report ‘shines an honest light’ on the police’s failings to deal with sexual assault and rape cases, said Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Met police, adding, reports The Guardian: ‘We have to give the same priority to sex offence investigations as we do to counter-terrorism.’

We’re not entirely sure how we feel about the comparison. As much as we totally agree it should be given the same attention – victims are terrorised day after day by sexual assaults and rapes, long after the actual incident happens – as terrorism, to make this comparison will inevitably lead to people saying which one’s better or worse. They’re both pretty awful, now can we have a police service that helps survivors to gain closure by making criminals see just how damaging their actions are?

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Li Hui 

Tags: Sexual Assault, Rape