Thursday, 17 September 2009

11 hours...

[trigger warning]

BBC News reports on the criticism made by a judge after police took 11 hours to respond to an emergency call from a woman who had been raped.

The court heard the woman had called police at 1649 GMT on 26 November last year claiming she had been assaulted in Peterborough, but she was not seen by an officer until 0353 GMT the following morning.

Jurors heard she called the police for the second time at 1719 GMT, informing them she had just seen her attacker.

She was not met until 1830 GMT when a Police Community Support Officer attended the scene and sent her home.

Cambridgeshire Police had a 3.1% conviction rate for rape in 2007, and had similarly bad rates in 2004-2006, making it one of the worst performing forces in the country.

Hardly surprising when they act like this.

[Cambridgeshire Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hopkins] said an investigation into the incident had taken place and new procedures to deal with serious sexual offences had since been put into action.

"We note the comments made by Judge Enright and will study them closely to establish whether any further changes need to be made," he added.

Given that this seems to be just one of the most obvious ways Cambridgeshire police have got things wrong, I doubt things will be improving much. In 2004, Gloucestershire and Suffolk were the only two forces with worse conviction rates. In 2005, both had made significant improvements, getting average or above average (which still means around 7%, so not "good" by any definition) conviction rates. Cambridgeshire remained near the bottom of the list. If they didn't think to hold a major investigation then, it seems unlikely that they'll do anything useful now either.