It’s not just the Met police that is failing women…


by Unity    
9:06 am - February 7th 2013

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I don’t know how much national press coverage this story will get but the Birmingham Mail is reporting another sorry case of a Police officer falling down on the job:

A “rogue” policeman has quit the West Midlands force after admitting retracting a domestic violence victim’s statement without her knowledge. PC Stuart Williams, 37, resigned after pleading guilty to forgery at Coventry Crown Court on Monday. He was charged after an investigation was carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The cop had been due to stand trial over the charge but changed his plea to guilty at the start of the proceedings. He received a four-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay £2,400 costs.

Yes, you are reading that correctly.

The officer in question was tasked with investigating a complaint of harassment against the woman’s ex-partner but instead of doing his job properly he chose, instead, to falsify paperwork to make it appear that he’d been investigating the case. Then, to cap it all off, he visited the victim in April 2011, wrote up a false statement withdrawing the complaint and forged the victim’s signature to make it appear that they had asked for the case to be dropped.

Only a few months ago, Ryan Coleman-Farrow, a former detective constable with the Metropolitan Police, was jailed for 16 months for failing to investigate 10 rape cases and three sexual assaults and for falsifying records, including making entries on the police computer system which indicated that the Crown Prosecution Service had advised no further action in cases when no such instructions had been given.

The impact the Coleman-Farrow’s misconduct has had on women in London reaches far beyond the 13 cases that he failed to investigate and can be clearly seen in the Met’s own crime statistics.

The earliest round of significant publicity given to this case and concerns relating to the conduct of officers in the Met’s specialist Sapphire unit, which deal with rape investigations, occurred in May 2012 with media interest peaking in September when Coleman-Farrow stood trial and entered guilty pleas to 13 counts of Misconduct in Public Office.

Monthly statistics for the number of rapes reported to the Metropolitan Police are available from April 2011 to November 2012 and make for very interesting reading, especially when you compare the number of rapes reported from May to September 2012 with the same period in 2011.

rapestatslondon

Overall, the number of rapes reported to the Metropolitan Police for that period of 2012 (1217) is just about 17% down on the same period in 2011 (1465) with the biggest fall (30%) occurring in September.

The fall in the number of rapes reported to the police also coincides with the period during which there adverse publicity being generated by the Coleman-Farrow case. Furthermore, the biggest fall over the previous year occurs in the same month as the case went to trial, allowing the full details of Coleman-Farrow’s misconduct to be made public.

In this case it looks really suspicious, enough to suggest that the likely cause of a sizeable proportion of the fall in reported rape cases during this period stems from a serious loss of confidence in police’s ability to investigate rape cases properly, particularly as the figures for October – the month following Coleman-Farrow’s conviction – appear to revert back to their usual trend.

There is far more at stake in these situations, where a serving police officer fails to carry out their duties, than just the direct impact this has on the women whose complaints aren’t fully or adequately investigated.

It damages public confidence in the police which means fewer rapes, sexual assaults and domestic violence incidents getting reported to the police and more rapists and abusers getting away with their crimes and remaining free to rape and/or abuse other women.

This kind of thing has to stop.

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About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Crime ,Feminism

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Reader comments


This is not an issue of misogyny but an example of the incompetence and apathy endemic in our police services. The police are perhaps the laziest and most cosseted of all but such indolence is prevalent throughout our public services.

The answer is to tear up the protections they have built up over the years and outsource police, fire and ambulance services to third parties motivated to do the work.

2. the a&e charge nurse

[2] ‘such indolence is prevalent throughout our public services’ – I usually enjoy your intelligent observations (while often disagreeing with them) – but this is absolute tosh.

How many unpaid hours do you think the average state teacher, nurse, or doctor puts in every year?

If there is a trend toward falsifying police records when it comes to rape or domestic violence, as Unity suggests, then this is a criminal matter, but not one that driven by ‘indolence’ as you bizarrely claim.

@1 Third party police forces, wonder how long consenting to being policed will last in that environment.

4. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 Cylux

I myself look forward to being framed by a Private Public Peace Officer who needs one last bust to get a bonus this month.

@ A&E

this is absolute tosh.

Looks like we’re going to have to disagree on this!!

All of our public services have in common the fact that, over the years, strong unions have built up perks, codified procedures and restricted practices which have meant that public services are colossally inefficient. This has been achieved because their employer has been unwilling to court the adverse publicity by resisting any demand.

You should know this, but paramedics hang around A&E departments for hours waiting to hand over non urgent patients to the hospital. Firemen spend much of their working life asleep and most have second jobs, as their first one is so undemanding.

Attempts have been made, over the last few years, to sidestep the stranglehold the police federation has on the service by introducing admin staff and PCSO’s on sensible contracts to try to get the work done. This has not been entirely successful, mostly because of the resistance from the pampered regulars.

Let me be clear. The police federation, the FBU etc are not to blame for where we find ourselves- they were, after all, doing their job rather well. The blame lies with the pusillanimous reaction of successive governments in standing up to them.

Firemen spend much of their working life asleep and most have second jobs, as their first one is so undemanding.

I think most have second jobs because the first doesn’t pay enough.

7. James from Durham

There probably is overcapacity in the fire service. And if there isn’t there bloody well should be. I want there to be enough fireman to tackle a real disaster. Most of the time there won’t be one. But we need the manpower anyway because you can’t just magic up extra firemen when you need them. It’s not about cossetting.

The same should be true in hospitals. It isn’t and that is one of the reasons for the horrors that we read about on a daily basis.

8. the a&e charge nurse

[5] “You should know this, but paramedics hang around A&E departments for hours waiting to hand over non urgent patients to the hospital” – that’s plain wrong, crews are now on a permanent clock and their every move (or that of the ambulance) is tracked electronically.

Ambulance services produce reams of data on response times as well as time taken to transfer patients during each A&E visit
http://www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/Documents/Zero_tolerance061212.pdf

Nowadays crews tell me they do not even have the time to take proper meal breaks.

It certainly takes some chutzpah to tell someone who’s user name is the a&e charge nurse what’s really going down on A&E wards.

It certainly takes some chutzpah to tell someone who’s user name is the a&e charge nurse what’s really going down on A&E wards.

On the other hand……

Hospitals are supposed to take charge of them within 15 minutes of the ambulance arriving, but some are missing this in over half of cases.

Waits of an hour are even being experienced at times, delaying crews from attending other 999 calls.

It means paramedics are left waiting with their patients in hospital corridors or stuck in their vehicles until a nurse or doctor can take the person off their hands.

In the worst cases, A&E units have to close for a short period and divert ambulance crews to other hospitals.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16052725

The number of ambulances in London waiting more than 30 minutes from arriving at hospital to handing over patients has gone up about 66% in the last year, Labour has claimed…and in some cases patients are waiting almost three hours.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-21039624

I do accept that ambulance crews are not at all culpable when there are delays in handover and that these are merely a function of the monstrous bureaucracy that is the NHS.

@9

It certainly takes some chutzpah to tell someone who’s user name is the a&e charge nurse what’s really going down on A&E wards.

That’s Pagar for you, I guess! ;)

For a claim that seems like a cornerstone article of faith for the Libertarian Right, and given that most libertarians present themselves as rational and results-driven, I’ve yet to see any hard data supporting the supposed “inherent inefficiency” in publicly-run services versus the private sector.

If I were being cynical, I’d say “article of faith” is probably the best description I can come up with. In fact I’d go so far as to say that it is an article of faith solely derived from other articles of faith (e.g. Profit Good, Unions Bad).

Women have it easier than men in our society

13. the a&e charge nurse

The Sapphire Unit had officers disciplined following the rape of a 15yr old in 2005.
http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/Pages/pr170309_sapphire.aspx?auto=True&l1link=pages%2Fnews.aspx&l1title=News%20and%20press&l2link=news%2FPages%2Fdefault.aspx&l2title=Press%20Releases

According to the Gruniard, “had the complainant secured a court declaration that her human rights had been breached, it would have established in UK law that the police have a duty to properly investigate rape and sexual assault, setting a legal precedent. The woman wanted to continue fighting for such a declaration, but felt forced to accept the settlement because rejection could have resulted in a liability to pay the Met’s legal costs from the date the offer was made – even if she had won in court. That could have left her with tens of thousands of pounds of debt”.

As ordinary people know legal redress often entails huge financial, and personal risk, maybe this is a further obstacle to women pursing complaints about their treatment by the police during sex cases?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that at least some in the criminal justice system are averse to rape cases because they are notoriously difficult to successfully prosecute. While modern forensic techniques mean that it’s much easier to prove that a sexual act has taken place, who was responsible and how violent it was, conclusively proving lack of consent is still extremely difficult. Without that conclusive proof, the outcome hinges entirely on the decision of the jury.

With pressure being applied at various levels to reduce the number of unsuccessful prosecutions, that reticence is bound to percolate into the police services. Of course, behaviour such as that described in the article is utterly reprehensible – but when cost metrics become the be-all and end-all of how the criminal justice system is assessed, then it’s not surprising. What bothers me most is that here we have a clear case of deliberate sabotage on the part of an officer, with an evidence trail that could be used to bring it to light – how many cases exist where more subtle methods, such as coercion, have been applied to effect the same result?

As ordinary people know legal redress often entails huge financial, and personal risk, maybe this is a further obstacle to women pursing complaints about their treatment by the police during sex cases?

It doesn’t just apply to police complaints – apologies for bringing up a subject that we’re all tired of, but the late James Saville used his wealth as a weapon in the same way – by pointing out to his victims and accusers that he could ruin them with a libel action because they’d run out of money long before he did.

For years the crime figures for domestic violence did not reflect the true level because the police would log it as an incident rather than a crime. Not being cynical by nature, but I do wonder if the recent decrease in reported crime has anything to do with changing the status of call-outs.

5 chaise well said


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