Thursday, January 21, 2010

More damaging negligence from work-shy British police

Police didn't believe the woman had been attacked by a black cab driver in 2007. Worboys was interviewed but no action was taken. He was finally caught in 2008. A student who reported that she had been sexually assaulted by the taxi driver rapist John Worboys said that police officers laughed when she listed her injuries.

The victim said that she was lied to by police, made to feel like a criminal and was intimidated and patronised by officers who were meant to be trained to deal with sexual assault cases. If officers had investigated her claims properly in the summer of 2007 it is likely that Worboys, 51, would have been stopped, but he went on to attack scores of women before being arrested in 2008.

A review by the Independent Police Complaints Commission of the Worboys investigation found that officers missed “golden opportunities” to gather evidence. After the student, then 19, told police that she had been drugged and assaulted by the driver of a black cab, officers watched closed-circuit television footage of her being dropped off at her college in a black taxi, and arranged for the driver to contact them. He was interviewed before officers knew the extent of the allegations and neither his house nor his taxi was searched. Five officers have since received written warnings or “words of advice”.

Worboys is thought to have attacked hundreds of women as he trawled the streets of London at night. He would regale passengers with tales of winning large sums of money and then ply them with spiked drinks before sexually assaulting them. He was convicted in April 2008 of offences including drugging women and sexually assaulting them and rape.

The student, who had a pill forced down her throat by Worboys, said that when she reported the incident it took more than six hours for anyone to contact her. “When I told them about my injuries they just laughed and said I must have fallen over . . . they didn’t believe that it was a licensed black hackney carriage that I had gotten into. They were convinced it was an unlicensed minicab. And that was in spite of the CCTV footage.”

One officer told her that a file had been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, but she found out that this was a lie.

Asked what it was like being dealt with by trained officers, she said: “They just went with their opinions. They didn’t act like a specialist force.”

Deborah Glass, IPCC Commissioner for London, said: “This terrible experience was made worse by the patronising, sceptical and insensitive police response.”

The first entry on a crime report made by a detective who became the officer in charge of the student’s case was: “The victim cannot remember anything past getting in the cab. It would seem unlikely that a cab driver would have alcohol in his vehicle, let alone drug substances.”

The student has flashbacks of when she was in Worboys’s cab and has had counselling. She is considering suing the Metropolitan Police for compensation.

“This was supposed to be a specialist unit for rape and sexual assault,” she said. “If the officers had taken my allegations seriously, if they had looked at his car or gone to his property, they would have found evidence. But they didn’t do that and as a result so many women went on to be harmed. It is not enough to get a written or verbal warning.”

Original report here

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