MORE than one in three rape allegations initially deemed “no crime” are to be reopened following a review of 153 cases, Northumbria Police revealed today.
A total of 48 officers involved have been warned they may face disciplinary action as a result of the inquiry.
An audit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) identified that the force may have incorrectly “no crimed” some rape cases.
That means detectives decided after making investigations into allegations that no law had been broken.
The force’s Chief Constable ordered a review of all such reports going back three years, and a team of experienced officers has checked 153 cases.
Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson said that, of those, 54 will require further investigation - more than one in three of those reviewed.
“These have been reopened as crimes and each case will be reinvestigated by the review team,” he said.
“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.