London

Three Met officers may face charges over rape case

Scotland Yard
Image caption Two of the three officers cannot have dealings with the public while the investigation is carried out

Three Metropolitan Police officers may face criminal charges over claims they altered an alleged rape victim's statement so proceedings were dropped.

The trio are members of Scotland Yard's Sapphire Unit which investigates sexual crimes, and were based at Walworth police station in south London.

They already faced charges of gross misconduct over their handling of this case, and that of another woman.

But these will be put on hold while the claims over the statement are examined.

In the meantime, two of the men - a detective constable and a trainee constable - have been placed on restricted duties and cannot be in contact with the public.

The third officer, a constable, has had no limits placed on his work.

Lawyers consulted

The officers are suspected of making changes to paperwork so it seemed the first woman wanted to retract her claims.

The allegations emerged when she was shown her original statement, which was made after an attack in south London in May 2009.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has liaised with lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider if any criminal offences have been committed.

"Three officers were due to face a misconduct hearing in relation to their handling of two separate allegations of rape," said an IPCC spokesman.

"However, one of the original complainants has made a new allegation - that a statement she gave to the original rape enquiry, which she had only just seen, had been altered without her consent.

"This new allegation is now being investigated and the misconduct hearing has therefore been postponed."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the force "takes any allegation that officers have not provided the service we and the public expect very seriously".

Last month a detective in the Sapphire Unit was suspended over claims of "irregularities" in 30 cases.

He is also under investigation for his dealings with a woman who died in an apparent suicide pact in Putney, south-west London.

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