Saturday, March 14, 2009

British police repeatedly let serial rapist slip through their fingers

He should have called someone a "coon" or a "faggot". THAT would have awoken their interest

A review of how John Worboys managed to slip through the hands of the police a minimum of 12 times is expected to lead to disciplinary action against at least one officer. A critical incident review was carried out after it emerged that 12 women had told the Metropolitan Police that they had been drugged, sexually assaulted or indecently propositioned by a taxi driver between 2003 and Worboys’ arrest in February last year. But despite similarities between the stories — all but two were given pills or alcohol — the police and their multimillion-pound criminal intelligence system failed to make the link.

Senior officers have now sent the findings of the review to Sir Paul Stephenson, the commissioner. The women’s allegations would have been considered by officers from the Met’s Sapphire units — teams across London that deal only with rape and sexual assault allegations. But their claims were either not investigated properly, incorrectly entered into the police database or simply not believed.

A senior officer said: “We are really in a lot of trouble over this. Some heads are on the block. Some women were not treated well by police, some were told to ‘f*** off, black cab drivers don’t do that sort of thing’. Others were not taken seriously because they were drunk.”The officer added: “We have been told time and again that drug-assisted rape doesn’t happen. Well, it does. We should have identified this series of attacks earlier.”

The information gathered by the Sapphire teams in different boroughs across London should have been evaluated centrally by the Met’s Intelligence Bureau, which should have noted that a serial sex attacker was at large. That never happened. Now, after a seven-month review, control of Sapphire units is being taken away from borough level and placed under the umbrella of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command at Scotland Yard. The Met claims that the move is coincidental.

Further blunders were made by officers investigating individual attacks. A note that Worboys pushed through one woman’s door thanking her for the night before was corrupted as evidence when an officer left it lying on a desk in a police station and another officer wrote on a piece of paper on top of it, leaving indentations. One victim ran from Worboys’ cab and found an armed police officer who took down the cab number but got one digit wrong.

But perhaps the worst blunder came in July 2007 when Worboys was captured on CCTV dropping off a student who said that she was drugged and sexually assaulted. When police went to Worboys’ house, he was not at home. But instead of obtaining a warrant and breaking in, the officers left a note asking him to contact them, giving him time to dispose of evidence. He later turned up at a police station with his solicitor, where he denied any involvement in the attack, and was freed. He went on attack at least 30 more women.

The student told friends: “This was the first time that I had ever called the police . . . I didn’t have confidence in them and felt they didn’t care.” A source involved in the inquiry said that officers should have got a search warrant: “They could and should have raided the place. They would almost certainly have found a treasure trove of forensic evidence.”

A detective constable decided that, despite finding morphine and another sedative in the student’s urine, the Crown Prosecution Service was unlikely to sanction a prosecution so never sent it the case file. His decision, upheld by a senior officer, has now been sent by the Met to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to review. The policy has also been changed so that all serious sexual offences are referred to the CPS.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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