Sapphire Units, which deal with rape and sexual harrassment, will be restructured
The Metropolitan Police units, Sapphire, which deal with rape and sexual assualt cases will be reorgnanised following a series of failed investigations, according to the BBC.
The changes mean investigators of rape, sexual assault and child abuse will be brought together in a single department made up of 1,400 members of staff. It is also believed 100 extra officers will be recruited, the units will be renamed and there will be a focus on sexual exploitation cases.
According to BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw, although the Sapphire teams include many highly-skilled detectives, the name has become associated with failed investigations.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has conducted nine inquiries into the force’s handling of sexual assaults and rape cases. In February they found that a unit based in South-east London had ‘encouraged’ victims to withdraw rape allegations to boost detection rates in 2008-09.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, current head of Sapphire, said these changes were part of the wider restructuring of the Met force.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, he said the ‘very damaging’ IPCC report related to failings dating back to 2008-09 and things had changed in the department.
He said: ‘I want to reassure the public we will maintain specialist investigators to deal with rape, highly trained dedicated staff and part of the restructuring is to enhance the service we give to victims. There is an absolute steadfast determination that this command will work.’