The way South Yorkshire Police dealt with rape victims has been dubbed ‘weak’ by the report which said the force showed a ‘disregard’ for vulnerable victims.
A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary released this week said the way the force dealt with vulnerable people, including vulnerable children who had been victims of sexual assault, was ‘unacceptable’.
It added the way the force recorded such crimes ‘hid the true extent of the picture of crime’, with 24 per cent of examined cases not recorded as crimes when they should have been.
The revelations came just days after it emerged at least 1,400 children in Rotherham were subjected to ‘appalling’ abuse between 1997 and 2013.
The same HMIC report says rape allegations were not always recorded accurately, and that 11 of 66 ‘no-crime’ decisions over rape, robbery and violence were not compliant.
It said: “We found that allegations of rape are mostly recorded accurately but not on every occasion. We found that some, but not all, officers and staff have a clear understanding of the policy.
“The force has established a specialist rape investigation team, Apollo, after audit data showed the area of rape recording and management to be weak.
“The force has an ‘investigate-to-record’ approach to rape, and will, as with no other crime type, demand that a lengthy handover package is created by the officer attending to allow a slower time assessment by the rape investigation team.”
But it added: “Following a force review of rape offences in 2013, additional audit scrutiny takes place to ensure incidents reported of a sexual nature are transferred to the crime system in accordance with national standards and correctly classified.”
South Yorkshire Police said the force had ‘lessons to learn’ but stressed the report ‘recognises significant improvements’.