Stop the police ignoring sexual assaults putting children and the elderly at great risk.

Stop the police ignoring sexual assaults putting children and the elderly at great risk.

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Nige Bashton started this petition to The Minister of State for Policing

Dear Mr Hurd

I recently wrote to you regarding major concerns with one of the country’s police forces, your ref TRO_16415. You responded that a Minister could not comment on such matters but, with reference to the Home Secretary, this is certainly not the case. Therefore, I will remind you of the matters that were put before you and I will then put my questions to you once again.

The documents supplied to you when you were first notified of these issues clearly demonstrate:

  1. A police officer believing that he could individually manage the report of a child being raped on a weekly basis from the age of 9 over a four-year period. The officer choose to use his own methods rather than follow procedure. This prevented the reports from being progressed and denied the victim the necessary support. The police force concerned put this failing down to a lack of experience.
  2. The same police officer twice disregarding the report of a serious sexual assault to which there was an eye witness. The victim was an elderly lady suffering from dementia and the assault occurred in a care home where both she and her assailant resided. Six months after the initial report the police force concerned did not know the whereabouts of the assailant despite having been informed of where he was living and how to locate him on a number of separate occasions. The police force concerned, again, put this failing down to a lack of experience.
  3. The above police officer’s supervisor not following procedure and failing to escalate the cases when reviewed. It has been acknowledged that the child abuse victim’s statement makes horrific reading where the word rape leaps out. This prevented the reports from being progressed, again, denying the victim the necessary support. This failing has been attributed to, and I quote, “having an off day”.
  4. A police officer meeting with the victim of rape as a minor but deciding he would rather talk about his own issues for a little over two hours. Not only was this to the exclusion of the matter in hand but the officer repeatedly used profane language as well as talking about his penis. Amongst other inappropriate questions, the officer directly asked the victim if they considered it was worth the officer having sex with his wife when he could not ejaculate. Whilst, as you are aware, there is far more detail behind this issue the police force concerned do not consider that there is any possibility of misconduct in the behaviour of this police officer.
  5. The supervising officer of 4 above taking the decision to send out this police officer to the victim despite knowing that the officer was suffering from severe depression arising from personal issues. These personal issues were, I am led to believe, a frequent topic of conversation. The officer was receiving counselling and treatment for his condition, but this had still resulted in periods of absence from work. The officer had only just returned to duty from his latest absence when he was sent out to the victim to discuss their childhood trauma. The police force concerned consider this proper duty of care.
  6. The complaint department of the police force concerned persistently not following the IOPC complaint handling guidelines, a fact that was openly admitted in a telephone conversation. This allowed the situation to dramatically escalate and prevented the reports from being progressed denying the victim the necessary support.
  7. The complaint department of the police force concerned downplaying serious complaints as highlighted by 4 above. There is also a separate complaint regarding the unauthorised disclosure of confidential information not being considered a misconduct issue. Also, the same complaint department does not consider there to be any negligence despite the child abuse victim being denied the necessary support as a direct result of the actions of the police force.

It should be noted:

  • The police officer in 1 and 2 considers that his only failing is not keeping the victim informed even despite the fact he missed the report of a sexual assault. This report had been given in interview with a solicitor present. The second ignored report of the sexual assault was given over the telephone. The same police officer is also responsible for the unauthorised disclosure of confidential, and very sensitive, information referenced above. He is a trained police officer I believe.
  • There are further recent examples of 6 in addition to those that you already have. These are issues that were supposed to have been addressed by the very first complaint and are at the very heart of these matters. This directly contradicts your reply to my MP as it would appear, quite clearly, that lessons are not being learnt as you suggest Mr Hurd.
  • The senior officer responsible for 6 and 7 has been asked to contact me by both the Commissioner and the Chief Constable to explain her, and her staff’s, actions and decisions. Whilst I would not have thought it normal for a police officer to ignore the requests of both a commissioner and a chief constable, I am sure we both understand the reasons why I have not received any communication from this officer to inform me that I am mistaken and that all actions have been honourable. Has there not been a police force recently under investigation for employing similar practises? Please correct me if I am wrong on this last point as you will be far more aware of these matters in your position as the Minister of State for Policing.

As you are aware, there are a number of other serious failings of the police force that are not given above and one of which, I am sure you will agree, is of exceptional concern. I have also highlighted concerns with the relevant OPCC to you. You are also aware that I have managed to twice highlight these issues to the IOPC only for the matters to be completely ignored on both occasions. There is another appeal due to be presented to the IOPC but there seems little point in pursuing these matters via the official complaint system as it is now just going around in circles. The system protects the police and not the victims, it appears that the police force is answerable to nobody. If you wish I will present you with the details that I would have been logging with the IOPC.

I am writing this open letter to you in concern for the people that the police force are directly putting at risk. There are three matters that I am urging to be addressed:

  • The police force ignoring serious sexual assaults.
  • The way the police force have handled a report of paedophilia resulting in great emotional distress to the victim.
  • The police force downplaying serious complaints to protect itself whilst ignoring the consequences for the victims.

All of these matters have very serious consequences.

Yours Sincerely
N.S. Bashton


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