Findings of investigation into Met handling of Worboys case
Five police officers have been disciplined and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has called for changes to the way police deal with victims of sexual offences following its investigation into the Metropolitan Police Service’s enquiry into John Worboys.
The investigation discovered missed opportunities due to individual errors of judgement as well as more systemic issues. It found that there was a case to answer by five police officers, two Detective Constables, a Detective Sergeant and two Detective Inspectors and all have been disciplined as a result.
On 26 July 2007, a woman called the MPS and reported that she had been sexually assaulted by the driver of a London taxi. An investigation began and John Worboys was arrested the next day. He was bailed pending further inquiries but the investigation was closed in October 2007, as it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to take to the Crown Prosecution Service.
He went on to attack a further seven women before he was arrested for a second time and subsequently charged in February 2008. In March 2009, he was convicted of 19 charges, including one count of rape and four sexual assaults from October 2006 to February 2008. He was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence on 21 April 2009 at Croydon Crown Court.
The MPS conducted an internal review of their overall handling of the Worboys investigation which concluded in October 2008, which led to a number of recommendations as to the way victims of sexual assaults are dealt with and organisational changes. They then voluntarily referred their handling of the case of the IPCC in January 2009. Following this referral, the IPCC received two complaints, one from the woman who was assaulted by Worboys on 26 July 2007 and another from a woman who was sexually assaulted in 2003.
Having examined the Met’s review, the IPCC has concluded that steps have been taken to address the concerns raised, but more needs to be done if public confidence in the police’s response to reports of rape and sexual offences is to improve.
The IPCC’s recommendations include:
- The Met should provide information online and in leaflet form which sets out what victims of sexual offences can expect from the police during the reporting, investigation and court case, along with information about making complaints if the service they should expect is not met.
- There should be a requirement for victims to be updated regularly, by a named contact, in an agreed way at a time that suits them.
- The Met needs to work more closely with the voluntary sector, who have a crucial role working with victims to promote public confidence in the police. Third party reporting should be made available on a more formal basis than it currently is, and the training given to front line officers should be quality checked by independent observers from the voluntary sector.
IPCC Commissioner for London, Deborah Glass, said: “The number of victims in these cases and the public reaction to the police response has undoubtedly acted as a wake-up call to the Met in its response to the victims of sexual violence.
“They have since reviewed their own procedures and training, and the changes they have already implemented are significant. However it is inevitable that there will be a degree of scepticism about whether this is enough to deal with what is widely regarded as a long neglected area of policing.
“The onus is now on the Met to demonstrate that these changes make a real and tangible difference, and our recommendations are designed to help them achieve that.”
Of the five officers who were disciplined, one Detective Constable and one Detective Inspector received written warnings, and the others received formal words of advice.
The IPCC’s independent investigation into the Met’s handling of the Kirk Reid case is also complete. It concludes that there is a case to answer for five officers, including senior officers. The report is currently with the MPS and we await their proposals for disciplinary action. The findings will be published when discipline has been finalised.
Issued by Trish Keville: 0207 166 3130
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