Today (15th December 2022) sees the publication of the Operation Soteria Bluestone Year 1 report. As the report notes, "Operation Soteria was launched by the Home Office in June 2021 as a core action in the UK Government’s End-to-End Rape Review to help deliver the ambition to more than double the number of adult rape cases reaching court by the end of this Parliament (May 2024)."
The host of findings include:
- That police have been running victim credibility investigations
- That they have been basing investigations on trying to prove the survivor to be untrustworthy or unreliable, rather than focusing on the suspect
- That basic communication between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service is often poor.
- That there have been failures to identify repeat offenders, resulting in rapists continuing their horrific sexual violence and abuse.
Rape Crisis England & Wales' CEO Jayne Butler states:
"The findings of Soteria Bluestone year 1 offer more insight than ever before into how and why the criminal justice system has been failing victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse in myriad ways. The uncovering and analysis of these cultural, procedural, and strategic failings as provided by the research teams are absolutely necessary for radical change to take place.
We expected that the intense scrutiny that police forces faced would result in a wide and numerous range of problems to address. However, the findings point to some of the most basic failings.
It is unacceptable to see the extent of the massive gaps in specialism and experience in policing, leaving officers without specialist knowledge, training, and support to handle some of the most dangerous and difficult crimes: it is inevitable then that survivors will be failed and that police will be demoralised.
It is key that there are clear, fair, and consistent responses from all police forces investigating sexual violence and abuse. Survivors deserve nothing less than the total and utter commitment and will from the very top of every police force, and throughout, without exception.
The work of Soteria now needs to be replicated across all police forces, signalling and demonstrating a clear and strong commitment to transform working cultures and processes."