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2 Jun, 2015 17:12

​Rape cases prioritized alongside terrorism after damning report – Met police chief

​Rape cases prioritized alongside terrorism after damning report – Met police chief

London’s most senior policeman has pledged to treat rape and sex offenses with the highest priority after a damning report into the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) revealed widespread failures.

The investigation, titled “Report of the Independent Review into The Investigation and Prosecution of Rape in London,” was carried out by lawyer Dame Elish Angiolini QC, who previously served as Lord Advocate of Scotland.

It found that while there had been an increase in the reporting of incidents, the resulting workload meant resources were stretched.

READ MORE: Child sex abuse cases rise 60% - but arrests fall since 2011

Questions were also raised about police and prosecutors’ ability to manage the issue.

The report noted “high levels of anxiety were observed in both organizations, which, unless additional resources are forthcoming, can only become worse as staff struggle to meet increasing crime reporting.

Angiolini told the Daily Mail: “Some of the recommendations will require a willingness to undertake radical change in the approach to these cases.

She argued that while recent governments had championed the cause of encouraging victims to report sexual violence, there was still work to be done.

There is an urgent need to ensure that the system is not overwhelmed because of a failure to fund the positive outcome of that policy,” she said.

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Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe gave his views on the report, which he said “shines an honest light” on the issue, when it was launched at New Scotland Yard on Tuesday.

We have to give the same priority to sex offense investigations as we do to counter-terrorism,” he said.

What we intend to do in three areas is give the highest priority to the new demands we are facing in the future – the first is around counter-terrorism, the second is around cybercrime, and the third is this area, sexual offense reporting.

The Met has been dogged with scandals pertaining to its handling of sexual violence cases in recent years including a failure by police to record rapes as crimes in several areas of London.