Additional check on sex cases

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A PANEL is being launched to scrutinise the investigation and handling of rape and sexual abuse cases reported to a police force.

Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg is creating the panel as one of his priorities in the regional Police and Crime Commissioners’ Violence against Women and Girls’ Strategy.

It will aim to provide independent oversight of rape investigations in County Durham and identify opportunities for improvements, add transparency and improve conviction rates.

Mr Hogg said: “Rape is one of the most abhorrent crimes, and yet one that victims often lack confidence in reporting.

“I want this panel to scrutinise the way cases have been handled, so that we can learn lessons and improve investigations, provide better support for victims and increase confidence.”

Earlier this week, it was announced senior officers in Northumbria Police were being investigated over claims “no crime” was recorded following 11 reports of rape, with the discrepancies brought to light in an audit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.