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Damaging Met Police mistakes will lose confidence of public

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Guy Smith | 18:42 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

Not once but twice, the Met has failed dozens of victims of sexual assault.

Today the Independent Police Complaints Commission published it's long-awaited report into serial sex attacker Kirk Reid.

He targeted lone women in south west London over an eight year period.

I've just talked to Denise Marshall, who was on the advisory panel to the IPCC. She's also chief executive of Eaves Housing - a well-respected charity for vulnerable women.

"I'm shocked to the core," she says. "The levels of stupidity are breathtaking. Unbelievably awful."

The IPCC commissioner Deborah Glass didn't pull her punches either. She summed up the Met's initial investigation as "shameful".

It follows a review in January into black cab driver John Worboys, who drugged and sexually assaulted dozens of women.

The police watchdog again found Met officers failed to properly investigate. Many of the attacks could have been stopped.

There were mistakes, missed opportunities, errors of judgement, the report discovered.

So it begs the question, how many more cases are there?

Well, the police watchdog says it's investigating at least three other cases.

Denise Marshall adds: "There's no excuse in the Reid case. It was poor policing and women in London (for both cases) have been let down."

One of those women rang me up this afternoon. She said she was one of the first victims to come forward to report John Worboys seven years ago.

"I was told by the officer that a cab driver wouldn't do that kind of thing," she says. "He just didn't believe me. I started not to believe myself. My boyfriend started to think I wasn't telling the truth. We've since split up. I have spent the last five to six years of my life thinking that I'm some sort of warped individual. Only now do I think I'm okay. I feel angrier with that officer than Worboys".

So in summary, this woman was doubly traumatised by someone not doing their job properly.

To be fair, the IPCC says the Met has improved how it handles investigations of sexual assault although the standards across London are inconsistent and more training needs to be done for front-line officers.

The Met has apologised and stresses it takes all allegations seriously.

Yet if you put together both the Worboys and Reid cases, then not only has there been huge damage to confidence for victims, but for the many dedicated officers who have worked hard to make a difference.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I find it amazing and want ALL people to know that the Met are not recruiting for the next 3 years, absolutely disgusting when you read all these reports. I want the public to know that the money is not being spent on recruitment at all but yet again to pay hundreds of managers high amounts of money to do not a lot.

    Get on with the real work. We need to bring along a slap round the ear and being able to call a spade a spade without the fear of uproar from all the do-gooders.

  • Comment number 2.

    I hope all witnesses are compensated by the incompetance of the police officers concerned... payment should be deducted from the officers wages or pension..Only then would they not repeat it.

  • Comment number 3.

    The Met....not unlike England's World Cup Squad......'clawless, toothless, spineless pussy cats'.

 

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