Not being vigilant about investigation is a crime

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I really don’t want to have a go at the police.

I like the cut of their jib. I also like the fact they keep me safe, find the scumbags responsible for crimes and gather evidence to bring those scumbags to justice.

I like that a lot. It’s civilised. It’s important.

What I don’t like is the bureaucracy and the funding cuts that have been imposed upon the police.

It makes a hard job harder and crimes more difficult to investigate.

The police are not alone in this. The axe has been swinging for public and private sector organisations for years now.

I mean, how desperate must Portsmouth City Council be to even consider talking about forming a joint local authority with Southampton?

So last week’s announcement that the force had not been recording crimes properly was understandable.

But it is unforgivable.

A report found 18 cases of rape that had been de-listed as crimes when, actually, they should have been investigated fully.

Lots has been said about how difficult it is to persuade victims of rape and sexual assault to report their crimes in the first place. How many more will now not bother?

It’s hard not to be cynical about Hampshire Constabulary launching its Don’t Cross The Line campaign a week ago today, the day before the details of the report were published in the press.

The timing smells a bit iffy – especially when the official news release on the force’s website calls it a ‘new’ campaign when actually it was first launched in November 2009.

Fair enough, the campaign focuses on men and talks to them about how, if a response is anything less than a ‘yes’, what they do next is likely to be classed as rape.

But what’s the point of such a campaign, when these figures show the correct procedures for investigating reports of rape have not been followed in some cases? Rape is, to my mind, the second most serious crime a person can commit no matter the circumstances.

And so not being extra vigilant about how it is investigated – regardless of resources – is a crime in itself.