– UKIP MEP claims a ‘culture of disbelief’ exists among some of our region’s police forces surrounding rape.
– The Euro MP welcomes independent scrutiny panel which seeks to ‘shine a light’ on the way Durham police force investigates reported cases of rape.
A ‘culture of disbelief’ exists among some police forces in the North East surrounding rape, according to UKIP’s North East Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott.
The claim came as the MEP welcomed an independent rape scrutiny panel which is seeking to ‘shine a light’ on the way Durham police force investigates reported cases of rape, and improve police practice.
Its findings will then be presented to police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and external agencies.
Last month, Northumbria Police announced that nearly a third of rape cases that had previously been dismissed by the police force are now being reopened.
An audit previously said some rape cases may have been incorrectly recorded as a ‘no crime’.
Cleveland Police also said it would reopen 14 such cases from recent years, after an audit highlighted the same issue with the force.
Mr Arnott said “There has been a culture of disbelief for too long surrounding rape, which is why I welcome the independent rape scrutiny panel to make sure that victims are not denied justice for one of the most serious types of crime imaginable.
“Both Northumberland and Cleveland police forces have announced recently that they are reopening cases which they incorrectly recorded as ‘no crimes’. Together, police forces across our region need to send out a clear message that reported cases of rape will be dealt with seriously”.
Analysis of data earlier this year by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary showed that almost 1,500 allegations of rape were classified by police forces last year as “no crimes”.
Arnott added “We need to ensure victims of rape have every confidence in the criminal justice system, and this independent scrutiny panel is a step in the right direction”.