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6 October 2014, 07:45
Northumbria Police are going to re-investigate 54 rape cases that were incorrectly dropped by detectives.
Back in August, 15 Northumbria Police detectives were moved off the specialist Rape Investigation Team, after it emerged some rapes had been incorrectly 'no-crimed'
That's when a rape is reported to police but no evidence is found and so the case is dropped.
Originally 11 cases were found to have been incorrectly 'no-crimed' but that's now gone up to 54 cases after a review of all 'no-crimed' rape reports since October 2011.
That review was ordered by the Chief Constable of the force.
48 Northumbria Police officers have been warned they could now face action.
The force says any victims who are affected will be given specialist support by trained officer.
Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson explained the current position:
"The initial assessment is now complete. I have reported my findings direct to the Chief Constable and we have determined that 54 cases require further investigation. These have been reopened as crimes and each case will be reinvestigated by the review team.
This will include contacting the victims in these identified cases and our main priority is to support them through this process.
A total of 48 officers involved in the identified cases, and those who supervised the investigations, have been served with formal notifications as part of the standard procedure in such circumstances.
Those who are within the Rape Investigation Team have been moved to other teams as a temporary measure to ensure professional standards are maintained.
This does not necessarily mean they are guilty of serious issues.
This is entirely dependent on the findings of the investigation.
If any officer has failed to reach the high standards expected of them rest assured this will be dealt with through the proper procedures.
We are progressing this speedily but thoroughly, mindful of the impact this can have on victims when we speak to them again about their experiences. We have already made our first arrest following the reopening of these investigations.
A 50 year old man has been arrested in the Slatyford area of Newcastle in connection with a rape in March this year and has been bailed.
I want to reassure anyone reporting such crimes to us that we will listen to them, take them seriously, investigate thoroughly and bring offenders to justice whenever we can.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said:
"This issue was in the headlines a month or so ago and we took immediate action when the HMIC and, indeed, my office identified some rape 'no crimes' of serious concern.
We acted before the publication of the report and are the only force which has taken such a strong stance on this issue, though many forces have far higher rates of 'no criming' than we do.
The action being taken is right and will get to the root of the issues and I am confident that progress is being made and victims are being dealt with sensitively and appropriately.
I am continuing to monitor the situation closely and receive weekly updates from the Chief Constable. Where mistakes have been made and, all the more if there has been any falling short of duty, the police will learn the lessons.
The Chief Constable and I are determined to ensure the service offered to victims of serious sexual crime is of the very highest standard.”
Anyone with concerns should contact police via 101 in the first instance.