This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

It was bound to happen.

At last, the media has realised that the low conviction rate for rape is all the police's fault. I have been saying it for months. If we will insist on trying to prosecute people for things that happened behind closed doors with no witnesses, where the state of mind of both parties is the crucial question, what do we expect?

I also fully support Minister Mike O'Brien's solution that the only way to fix this low conviction rate is by "a change in the law". It is a little known fact that the solution to everything is a change in the law and I for one can't get enough of them.

However, I must take issue with the allegation that police "wrongly" recorded a third of cases as No-Crimes. As you can see here, I fail to believe that this number of crime reports, let along rape allegations, could ever get past the scrutinising gaze of our crime auditors. The Blandshire Constabulary auditors would probably refuse to no-crime a murder where the victim had been found alive.

(For newcomers to the happy world of police terminology, a No-Crime (or non-crime) is where a crime report has been created, but evidence has been found to suggest that it never happened in the first place so it is re-designated a No-Crime.)

Here is a quick guide to some things that courts like, should you be considering pursuing a rape allegation that far:
  • Injuries and photos of them.
  • Tears.
  • Virginity.
  • Medical statements.
  • Lack of drug-taking and prostitution.
  • Witnesses.
  • CCTV.
  • Forensic evidence.
  • A good grasp of the English language.
  • Articulation.
  • Lack of previous convictions.
If you cannot produce all of that, you are about to become one of the 95% of victims whose case collapses. I am keen to see what change in the law the Minister proposes to fix these glaring loopholes.

You can read the full report here if you have several hours to spare.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm, and don't you just hate the current trend of women who present themselves at the station door telling you they woke up this morning feeling funny. Yes it was after a night out so they MUST have been drugged and INSTIST that they have been violated.

Too often that funny feeling is called a HANGOVER. They seem to think that half a bottle of vodka mixed with orange juice before they go out, 4 or 5 bottles of beer, 6 or so lethal cocktails and usually a couple chasers to end the night, will not affect them and their decisions. Often more has been drunk. Their allegation though MUST be followed up - quite rightly. I'm sure that many (not all) undergo their first violation when they submit themselves to the medical examination. IF they do.

A forensic scientists least favourite starting line on the Lab form ("Hol lab" to them) is "The victim had been drinking heavily". That's a sure way of your work being put to the bottom of the pile.

When will these silly little girls grow up - drink less on a night out - have more security backups or just realise that they made a mistake last night - we all do or have done - and learnt from them. Then the REAL victims of sexual assault can be dealt with more compassionately and fully by police officers who WANT to help them and put offenders in jail.

Then our no crime figures may decrease. Yes, the matter has been investigated and no evidence of a crime has been found to be committed. Of course we're not allowed to say this as it may discourage people from approaching us to report crimes. Nobody wants that to happen, but in sex crimes as with many other crimes, there has been an explosion of allegations that frankly are nonsense because people simply haven't looked after themselves and expect others to mop up afterwards. Many of these people don't even know if they've had sex or not - they'd got themselves so drunk.

I don't know the figures but I'm confident that there are precious few incidents of drug rape. As a police officer (of 13 years in central and outer London) I have seen 1 case of administering a drug to commit a sexual offence. Though I've dealt with many such allegations. A good friend as a forensic scientist (of 7 years in London) deals with many allegations of drugged rape, but the only drug found has been alcohol. Sometimes there has been sex - sometimes there hasn’t. These people woke up feeling funny and assumed they had been raped.

God help this country’s future.

01 February, 2007 12:11

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some people in this world who seem to lack the most basic human trait of common sense but thank God for Bloggsie who makes up for all those morons with not only the average, but at least 10 times the average amount of common sense, making her beautifully funny.

01 February, 2007 12:21

Blogger staghounds said...

You forgot "instant reporting", "unattractive, scary rapist you have never met before", and "unconditional recorded denial of consensual sex by the defendant" in your list of essential evidence.

01 February, 2007 14:53

Anonymous 9 yrs to go said...

One of the things I noted in the report other than the spurious and sickly use of the word "survivor" was the victims need for female officers and female medical examiners. Something in this day and age I have had my head bitten off for sugesting in open forum. Lets see how the forces react to this.

01 February, 2007 17:13

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

In answer to the first anon's comment, there has not yet been one forensically proved case of drug rape in this country - how's that for a fact. Doesn't mean those weren't rapes, just that the drug was most likely alcohol.

In answer to the rest of the comment, where's the evidence for this "explosion" of false allegations? The truth is we weren't there and will never really know.

01 February, 2007 18:17

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there have been Drs or nurses who have been convicted of rape using a drug, but as I say - I have no figures, neither do I have names, just memories of newspaper headlines. Very inadmissible!

I dealt with an attempt case several years ago where it was not proved that a drug was administered as the initial reporting officers did not take a blood sample. By the time I got to her and could persuade the FME to go to the nearest police station, there was nothing of note - not even the trace of the 3 pints she had drunk, (& it WAS only 3 pints of lager!) I await the report of a current case, but all the indications are that there could have been something slipped - but I don’t want to go further, you’ll understand.

Evidence of an explosion? Try your local Sapphire office or SOIT officer. There are peeks and troughs of course. Some are seasonal, some can be linked to TV programs or news reports.

You are right of course - we weren’t there and will never know, but how sick are you of the woman who has an argument with her husband, drinks too much with her husbands best friend and seeks solace in his bed, then calls rape when she sobers up and can’t explain to her husband why she was out all night? Or simply the immature drunkard with a hangover.

01 February, 2007 20:00

Anonymous ted said...

Of course if the issue is of consent and the victim has no injuries it is always going to be difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt. In this as in any other crime I would have rather have many guily men go free than an innocent man be jailed.
Like any ther crime it has to be proved that the acused committed the crime. I feel sorry for the many genuine victims whose attackers walk free but that is the system we have. Many victims of other serious crimes also fail to have the perpatrator convicted right up as far as murder.

01 February, 2007 23:54

Anonymous ted said...

Oh by the way while on the subject there was quite a good article in the Times Online today about it.According to the author despite what you might thnik from some headlines the number of rape convictions is going up.
"The next thing I found was that more people are being found guilty of rape: up from 655 in 2002 to 728 in 2005."

02 February, 2007 00:08

Anonymous pc pc said...

ted perhaps the concept of percentage has passed you by?

02 February, 2007 10:26

Anonymous Anonymous said...

so - the conviction rate is only 5%

Well, to be fair thats 5% of all reported possible rapes - could anyone tell me the percentage of all reported burglaries/robberies/murders that result in conviction?

02 February, 2007 19:06

Blogger Bitseach said...

Whilst I know what you all mean, have been in similar situations with similar cases, and in fact know a couple of people who were raped and were totally stocious at the time of their rape and assault, I am still uncomfortable at the tone of much of this conversation.

It's a sad fact of our British "culture" of drunkenness (followed by our culture of fighting or vomiting) that many people will put themselves in unnecessary danger by drinking their brains out and either being attacked or just feeling funny the next day. But there'll also be a huge number of genuine cases and we're beginning to verge towards blaming the victim here.

No-one wants to go back to the days (not so long ago) of judges dismissing rape cases because the victim was wearing a short skirt and therefore asking for it. I agree that drinking to excess is not sensible at all (tho' most of us do it at least now and again) but it does not mean that the drinker was giving tacit consent to be violated by the schemer, the brute, the opportunist or the mislead rapist.

It really does make it bloody hard to convict of course though, for all the reasons given. Evidentially, the CPS will NFA even quite water-tight shoplifting cases on flimsy objection or supposed omission, so in a rape case, esp a date-rape case where there is no CCTV, no independent witnesses etc etc...well, law changes won't help that, will they?

02 February, 2007 20:36

Blogger Phill said...

Although I would never go so far as to say that men and women that drink too much deserve everything they get, their own actions do put them 'in the firing line' for all kinds of trouble.

It's for the same reason that we tell children not to talk to strangers and teach them how to cross the road properly... Or at least we used to.

You can't control the scum that's out there but you can take measures to make yourself safer.

Having been beaten up (and then arrested for my troubles) when I'd had far too much to drink, I learnt quickly that I couldn't allow myself to get into that kind of state again... And then did at my cousins wedding 6 months later.

A conviction rate in single figures is piss poor but it's in the courts that the problem needs to be addressed, not with the police.

In a case where it's one persons word against another it is difficult to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. So why not (for 1:1 trials only) bring in a middle virdict?
You're not guilty but you aren't completely off the hook either, a bit like a police caution but it can be used as evidence in future trials. You can 'get away' with it once but it'll be harder a second time around.

The only downside is that if you're unfortunate enough to be accused of something you didn't do twice, you stand more chance of going down for it the second time around. But the statistical probability (not the vindictive female probability) of that happening make it worth the risk.

For it to be truly fair it would have to potentially apply to both the accuser and the accused. Let's not kid anyone, when you accuse someone of rape, you go on trial as it is so why not formalise it?

03 February, 2007 19:36

Blogger PC South West said...

Maybe it's the fault of the jury not the police?

04 February, 2007 18:27

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