An independent review of how the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) investigate and prosecute rape cases in London – led by St Hugh’s Principal, the Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC – was published on Tuesday 2 June 2015.
The Report of the Independent Review of the Investigation and Prosecution of Rape in London was launched at a press conference at New Scotland Yard by Dame Elish, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, Baljit Ubhey.
In June 2014 Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders commissioned Dame Elish to conduct a victim-centred review of current protocols and procedures, and identify where improvements could be made. This was as a result of a significant increase in the number of rape allegations made, either recent or non recent, in London in the year 2013-2014, following the high profile Operation Yewtree.
As part of the review, Dame Elish scrutinised working practices, reviewed sample case files and consulted with victims and other organisations to build an overall picture of the service to victims.
In speaking about the report the Commissioner said: ‘Even though changes have been made – including the reallocation of murder teams to the rape command – this report shines an honest light on what the whole system must do to ensure victims and survivors get the very best service. I am determined to lead an integrated response which will deliver a first class service with the victim at its heart. This report provides us with the route map to excellence that I wanted and will assist us convict those responsible for these most awful crimes and provide the victims with the justice they deserve.’
The Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London said: ‘..I am fully committed to ensuring our responses to the recommendations in this report are put into action. Many aspects of the recommendations within the review have already begun, but we must never forget that the changes and improvements we make should all be working towards our goals of providing a better service to victims and holding perpetrators to account. I am confident that by embracing the findings of the review and delivering this change our service to victims of rape in London will improve.’
The report identifies a number of areas where change is required; culminating in a list of 46 recommendations, half of which are applicable to the police alone, eight apply to both the police and CPS jointly; and three applicable to the CPS alone. These recommendations address areas including resourcing, improved training, enhanced victim care and a broader spectrum of partnership working.
A multi-agency working group has been established, the role of which is to progress these recommendations. This work has already begun. In addition to this, a new London scrutiny panel will examine London cases of violence against women and girls. The panel will be chaired by Dame Elish, and made up of COS London and the MPS, and those who can represent the views of victim.
The Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service London have published a response to Dame Elish’s report.
Image: Metropolitan Police Service