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Report 9 of the 09 Jan 03 meeting of the Planning, Performance & Review Committee and provides an update on the progress of this plan with detail about each specific recommendation.

Warning: This is archived material and may be out of date. The Metropolitan Police Authority has been replaced by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).

See the MOPC website for further information.

Update on rape implementation plan

Report: 09
Date: 09 January 2003
By: Commissioner


In response to the MPA Scrutiny of Rape Investigation and Victim Care (April 2002), an implementation plan was drawn up by Sapphire to take forward the thirty-eight recommendations. This report provides an update on the progress of this plan with detail about each specific recommendation.

A. Recommendation

Members are asked to support the steps taken by Project Sapphire to improve victim care for rape victims and the investigation of rape.

B. Supporting information

1. The Performance Review Committee requested on 31 October 2002 a report on the following:

  • Provide an update on how the MPS is progressing against each recommendation from the MPA Scrutiny into Rape Investigation and Victim Care.
  • Provide a summary of progress against the HMIC recommendations.
  • In particular provides details of progress against developing the two new Sexual Assault Referral Centres (Havens) including joint funding, consultation regarding the services to be offered, project board, etc.
  • Highlights any problems and/or time scales not met in implementing recommendations.

Update of progress relating to MPA recommendations

Recommendation 1.

The MPS should ensure that all officers and staff who make take a call, take a front counter report or respond to a call for assistance from a victim of rape have received basic training and guidance on dealing with victims appropriately and on early evidence procedures.

2. A Seminar for Station Reception Officers (62 attended) was held in September 2002, another is planned for January 2003 (over hundred attending).

3. Training for first response officers was delivered to Borough trainers in October 2002. This training is now being rolled out by trainers throughout Boroughs.

4. Probationer and post foundation training has been improved.

5. Early Evidence Kits have been distributed throughout boroughs with appropriate instruction.


Recommendation 2

Information leaflets detailing the services provided to victims of rape and explaining what will happen next should be available at all victim examination suites and police station front counters.

6. Leaflets have been designed but await proof reading and publishing.


Recommendation 3

SOIT Officers should receive basic training in investigation skills but the role of SOIT officer should remain distinct from the investigator role

7. The role of SOIT officer will remain distinct from the investigator. The SOIT course has been reviewed and a new extended course starts in January 2003 (the length of the course is now 10 days rather than 7).


Recommendation 4

Guidance on victim support services should be developed for SOIT officers, including when to refer victims to a counselling service and the support services that are available in London for victims of sexual assaults.

8. The review of the current SOIT course took this into account.


Recommendation 5

SOIT Officers should all be offered regular OH support as a matter of course and the OH Dept. should ensure that all their staff are aware of their responsibilities to support SOIT officers. If appropriate OH support cannot be provided within the MPS, alternative counselling should be delivered by a recognised and accredited outside counselling agency

9. A working group has been formed and the role of SOIT officer is being risk assessed. A business case for ‘SOIT officer needs’ has been forwarded to the MPS Occupational Health department for agreement.


Recommendation 6.

The MPS should review the coverage of SOIT officers with a recommendation that there should be well-trained dedicated teams, providing 24-hour coverage across London and that the number of trained SOIT officers should reflect this need.

10. Special Police Notice 11/02 was issued in August 2002 and stated as policy that Boroughs should have dedicated SOIT teams. There are now 31 boroughs with a dedicated SOIT officer response. Sutton borough is negotiating with Croydon on whether it can brigade its resources.


Recommendation 7.

The MPS should develop a code of conduct for SOIT officers, which should be used by managers in the supervision of SOIT officers.

11. A new SOIT officer manual is being written to cover this recommendation.


Recommendation 8

All SOIT officers should receive line management control and supervision for their role including a system of appraisal. SOIT officer skills and experience should be recognised when they are trying to further their careers.

12. It is published policy (Special Policy Notice 11/02) that SOIT Officers should now be under the control and guidance of a SOIT Co-ordinator also responsible for supervision and welfare.


Recommendation 9

The MPS should develop and keep updated a database of FMEs and SOEs including their availability, geographical areas covered, ethnicity, gender, costs and level of skills

13. DPCS(9) have the information (other than ethnicity) held in various formats. The Pan London Haven Implementation Group is taking this issue into account in respect of doctors appointed to the new Havens.


Recommendation 10

The MPS should work with the NHS to review how more female and visible ethnic minority SOEs can be recruited

14. In light of progress with ‘Havens’ for pan London this recommendation has not commenced.

Recommendation 11

Contracts for SOEs should be developed to include how their performance should be assessed and how the quality of care provided is to be monitored.

As recommendation 10

Recommendation 12

A review should be conducted of the training and that is currently provided to SOEs attending sexual assault offences. All SOEs should be provided with appropriate training in communication with victims, victim care and evidence taking for sexual offences

As recommendation 10

Recommendation 13

The MPS should develop a system for updating SOEs on the progress of a case and the outcome of the investigations.

As recommendation 10

Recommendation 14

The evaluation of the pilot forensic nurse scheme in Manchester should be considered to see if it is appropriate for use in London

15. The scheme has been visited (Nov 02). An evaluation report by Home Office is due mid 03. Until such time no information can be released by the scheme.


Recommendation 15

Two further SARCs should be developed in London to provide a pan London coverage. These should be partly funded by the NHS and the MPS should give consideration for other partnership and sponsorship funding

16. Agreement reached with the Strategic Health Authority for the funding of three Havens providing pan London coverage to be shared equally between the MPS and the Health Service (top sliced from the 32 Primary Health Care Trusts). Funding has been approved from both the MPA and the Strategic Heath Authority.

17. Implementation of the two new Havens has started and it is projected that the two new Havens will be opened in June / July 2003 at St Mary's, Paddington and Barts and the Royal London (Whitechapel).

18. Implementation is taking account of a range of views from different groups (professional and voluntary) as to any improvements that need to be made to the current service delivered at the Haven, Camberwell.


Recommendation 16

The new SARCs should learn from the evaluation of other SARC models, including the Haven, particularly in consideration of counselling facilities and victim referral to counselling organisations. Wide consultation with interested agencies, such as the IAG, victim support organisations, paediatricians and voluntary organisations should be carried out when developing the new centres.

19. The Pan London Haven Implementation Group are consulting with all interested parties including the IAG and volunteer counselling services in respect of any improvements that may need to be made to the current specification delivered at the Haven, Camberwell.

Recommendation 17

As new SARCs are developed VESs should be phased out in London, however, until London has comprehensive coverage of SARCs, VESs should be managed and maintained to a corporate standard. The IAG should assist in developing these standards and providing a monitoring role.

20. Members of the IAG have visited all VESs in the MPS and reported on failings that have subsequently been rectified. Further visits are on the IAH agenda for 2003.


Recommendation 18

The MPS should work with victim support organisations and voluntary agencies to ensure that victims are provided with appropriate and validated counselling

21. The IAG has members from both organisations .The Special Police Notice states as policy that victims needs are paramount within an investigation with these needs being met through appropriate referral to outside agencies.


Recommendation 19

Working relationships with the CPS should be improved and the system of file exchange for rape cases should be examined. Relationships could be improved if dedicated sexual offence clerks were in place in the MPS Criminal Justice Units and if the CPS were to consider specialist sexual offence staff.

22. Special Notice 11-02 stated as policy the need to have dedicated case clerks for CJUs for rape and sexual assault cases. These posts are being rolled out on boroughs.


Recommendation 20

A joint MPS/CPS review of support provided to victims attending court should be carried out, including the information given to victims and pre-trial visits organised, in co-ordination with the victim support and the witness protection service.

23. Case trackers selected but await posting. The current moratorium on transfers into Territorial Policing Head quarters is delaying the start of this work.


Recommendation 21

The MPS should ensure that rape investigation and victim care has a clear chief officer responsibility.

24. Commander Quick is the MPS lead officer for rape investigation.


Recommendation 22

The improvement of rape investigation and victim care should be part of core business, rather than a project, with a permanent central co-ordinating unit.

25. Project Sapphire is now 'Sapphire', a central co-ordinating unit for sexual offences and rape.


Recommendation 23

Minimum standards are developed for the investigation of rape and victim care.

26. Special Police Notice 11/02 published.


Recommendation 24

Dedicated sexual offence investigation teams should be developed for all boroughs including dedicated investigative officers wherever possible. Where boroughs do not have enough rape crimes reported to warrant a dedicated team, there should be brigading with other boroughs.

27. Thirty-one boroughs have a dedicated SOIT team or a team brigaded with a neighbouring borough. Some boroughs also have dedicated investigative teams (Lambeth, Camden, Croydon, Enfield and Waltham Forest). Sutton borough is currently negotiating with Croydon borough on the resources commitment required to brigade.


Recommendation 25

Measures of attrition should be developed for rape cases, to put the judicial disposal rate into context, including conviction rate measurement.

28. Case trackers identified but await posting. The current moratorium on transfers into Territorial Policing Head quarters is delaying the start of this work.


Recommendation 26

Qualitative monitoring of the service provided to victims should be developed, e.g. through victim surveys. This should include breakdowns by gender, ethnic group, age and crime types, where possible, to target the diverse needs of victims. Surveys should be carried out sensitively, taking into account victims’ needs.

29. Survivor questionnaires have been developed and await comment by the IAG and academic experts. It is intended to visit pre agreed survivors (identified by Borough SOIT officers) to complete the questionnaire with community volunteers.


Recommendation 27

The MPA supports the introduction of case trackers in the MPS to monitor attrition rates and to ensure feedback to victims and other agencies.

30. Case trackers identified but await posting. The current moratorium on transfers into Territorial Policing Head quarters is delaying the start of this work.


Recommendation 28

The MPS should ensure that the national database on rape cases is regularly updated with cases reported in London and ensure compliance with quality standards.

31. The backlog of cases at SO11 has been removed. Borough and Sapphire are currently working to remove the ‘borough‘ case backlog. This should be complete by Jan 03.


Recommendation 29

The MPS should review its forensic submission procedure for rape cases.

32. A New Forensic submission policy was completed in Oct 2001. A review has been completed (Oct 2002) and final report submitted.


Recommendation 30

The MPS should continue the current good work with the IAG by increasing timely consultation on strategies, victim surveys and on crime prevention campaigns. The IAG should also be provided with progress against Project Sapphire aims and performance monitoring data.

33. Performance data is published and distributed to the IAG. There are also updates in relation to the business plan. In addition, the IAG is about to embark on specific case review. Membership is being reviewed by the group with the intention of extending to ‘hard to reach groups’.


Recommendation 31

Information on reported rape offences and other performance indicators should be provided to local forums in a consistent manner by each borough in the MPS.

34. Up to date presentations on current issues on rape, including performance, are being given to Borough SMTs. Quarterly standardised performance tables are distributed to all boroughs.


Recommendation 32

Training and guidance should be produced for SOIT officers and first response staff including information regarding rates of false reporting, levels of stranger and known rapist attacks and details about victims’ needs and reactions when reporting.

35. Special Police Notice 11/02 covers these areas. In addition, the review of SOIT training takes these issues into account.


Recommendation 33

The MPA supports the change in responsibility for child stranger rape cases from Territorial Policing to Child Protection Teams.

36. An implementation plan is being drawn up to transfer responsibility from TP to the Child Protection OCU (SO5).


Recommendation 34

The Haven and any new SARCs should not be considered best practice as locations for taking child victims of stranger sexual abuse. The MPS should review the locations for child victims and provide guidance to officers.

37. DAC Howlett is the lead for this recommendation. This issue forms part of the restructuring plan for Child Protection Units (see recommendation 33).


Recommendation 35

The MPS Child Protection Team should develop a pilot site for providing multi-agency victim care for victims of child abuse, including stranger rape offences.

38. As recommendation 33.


Recommendation 36

Gang rape appears to be a growing problem in London and a joint agency approach to look at this problem is required, to include MPS, schools, crime and disorder partnerships and other relevant agencies.

39. Analysis by SO11 into this issue has commenced; further information / analysis will be required for strategic problem solving.


Recommendation 37

The MPA supports the progress being made in tackling child trafficking. In particular support is given for increased sentencing for this crime and for the development of witness protection and victim support services for victims.

40. Work is ongoing in respect of activity to detect and reduce child trafficking. The MPS has requested that the Policing Plan for 2003/4 takes account of this work.


Recommendation 38

The MPS supports the development of preventative campaigns against mini-cab rape and drug rape crimes and recommends that these should cover all boroughs in the MPS.

41. A London wide preventative campaign entitled 'Know what you are getting into' warning of the dangers of illegal minicabs was launched as a joint initiative between Sapphire, the Mayor of London and the City of London police in October ‘02.

42. In addition to posters on the London Underground, a short film has been created and will be shown in cinemas throughout London prior to Christmas. The launch of this advert is taking place on Wednesday 18 December at the Café de Paris.

43. A national campaign to warn of the dangers of 'drug rape' was instigated in November '02 by the advertising company Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty in partnership with Sapphire and the MPS. BBH produced a poster that has been put up at 300 sites on the London Underground. BBH also enabled a television advert to be produced that has been shown on terrestrial television in the lead up to Christmas.


Summary of progress in relation to HMIC recommendations.

44. Acting AC Godwin is the ACPO lead for adult sexual offences and rape. Sapphire now leads a national ACPO working group established to take forward the HMIC/ CPS(I) recommendations. The following has been progressed by Sapphire:

  • National audit undertaken of examination suites and SOIT officers.
  • National seminar on Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) took place on the 3 December ‘02 in London where the concept of a national model of SARCs was discussed and debated.

45. The MPS will have implemented all relevant HMIC/CPS(I) recommendations by February 2003.

C. Equality and diversity implications

Sapphire is committed to producing in 2003 a London wide campaign appealing to minority communities (and, in particular, visible minority ethnic communities) to report rape and sexual assault as there is emerging evidence that rapes and sexual assaults are significantly under reported by some of these communities.

D. Financial implications

1. The start-up costs for implementing two new Havens is £1m shared between the MPA and the Health Service. £3m on-going revenue (shared equally) is the cost of three Havens when established. The MPA has approved this expenditure as a growth bid for 2003/4.

2. The cost to the MPA of the 'Know what you are getting into' minicab awareness campaign was £15,000. The funds for this came from the MPS Department of Public Affairs (DPA) budget for priority crimes.

3. The Drug rape campaign has been funded by sponsorship, Westminster City Council and by the advertising company Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty.

E. Background papers

MPA Scrutiny on rape investigation and Victim Care (April 2002)

F. Contact details

Report author: Richard Walton, MPS.

For more information contact:

MPA general: 020 7202 0202
Media enquiries: 020 7202 0217/18

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