By A piece in Times by Fiona Hamilton (Crime Editor):
The head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council wants forces to rethink their policy of automatically believing alleged victims of sexual crime, The Times has learnt.
Sara Thornton, the former chief constable of Thames Valley, also has concerns about police describing complainants as victims at the outset of an investigation before anything has been evaluated, let alone proven.
It is understood she feels that the police service has gone too far in the instruction to immediately believe alleged victims, a national policy aimed at encouraging people to come forward and give them confidence that they will be taken seriously. The fraught issue has resulted in a deadlock at the most senior level of the police service because the College of Policing, which produces guidance for forces, strongly backs the status quo. [J4MB: The Chair and CEO of the College of Policing are both women – here.]
The policy has been under review for more than a year since Sir Richard Henriques, a retired High Court judge who examined the Metropolitan Police’s disastrous VIP abuse inquiry, said that the automatic-belief policy warped the judgment of officers.