Concerns over rape crimes not pursued

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First published in Comment by

AN INSPECTION of the way North Yorkshire Police record crime data has revealed some deeply worrying findings.

Perhaps the most worrying relates to the way police deal with allegations of rape. Data examined by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) included 35 rape allegations police had dismissed as ‘no crime’. In 21 of these 35 cases, the ‘no crime’ designation was incorrect, HMIC said.

The implication is that police in North Yorkshire have been failing to properly investigate a significant number of rape allegations because they did not believe a crime had taken place.

This is of real concern – especially in the light of the recent scandal relating to the sexual exploitation of 1,400 children in Rotherham, where there were found to have been collective failures of the police, social workers and local politicians.

There is no suggestion of anything similar happening here. But to find that our own police have been incorrectly dismissing rape allegations as non-crimes will shake the faith of victims. Rape is a terrible, deeply traumatising crime. Coming forward to report it is difficult enough for victims, without the added worry police might not believe them.

Deputy chief constable Tim Madgwick admitted there was “more we can – and will – do to enhance our recording procedures.”

We are glad to hear it. Members of the public, and victims of crime in particular, must know that they can trust the way police record and investigate allegations of crime.

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