This is a follow-up post to my various posts on the subject of the ‘Arrest First – Investigate Later’ policy adhered to by Surrey Police at the request of their then Chief Constable, Lynne Owens. Earlier posts can be found here and here.
Sadly, despite this policy, Surrey don’t actually keep a record of how many people they have ‘arrested first, then investigated’. They do keep a record of how many allegations of sexual offences were made to the force.
Thus we know that in 2015, 1670 individuals went to a police station in Surrey and claimed to have been the victim of a sexual offence.
We can’t extrapolate the number of arrests made from that information, because of course, some allegations will have involved ‘unknown persons’ even little green men from Mars, where it was logically impossible to arrest anyone, though the majority of sex crimes are alleged to have been committed by someone known to, or related to, the alleged victim.
It would not be overly generous to assume that at least, at a bare minimum, that figure represented over a 1,000 people arrested, questioned, searched, finger printed, DNA checked, humiliated, embarrassed, suspended from jobs possibly, separated from younger family members certainly, and the information that they had been arrested in respect of a sexual crime recorded for all time, when they were innocent of all allegations.
That is an awful lot of people in just one county undergoing the worst experience of their life. Was it a price worth paying to protect the community.
It will shock you to know that, even with a CPS which is notoriously happy to charge on the basis of information from a victim who cannot remember how old he/she was at the time, cannot remember which year the offence occurred in, is even happy to put ‘victims’ suffering from paranoid delusions in the witness box, even then, only 242 of those interviews, undertaken in specially constructed interview suites by specially trained officers, resulted in any information being given to the police that the CPS felt could possibly stand up in court.
242 out of 1670. 14%.
Be very clear – that is not the number of convictions obtained – that is the number of cases that the CPS could even consider taking to court.
As for how many of those 242 cases resulted in a conviction – activists tell us that the figure is less than 5%, although more reliable academics say the conversion rate is around 45%, or perhaps 120 convictions out of a policy of arrest first in respect of 1670 allegations.
We cannot know the true rate, because needless to say, Surrey do not keep a record of this, only the CPS do, and they don’t keep it in county form. I can understand Surrey not wanting to keep the information in house as it were – for they wouldn’t want anyone being able to compare the amount of overtime, funding for specialist infrastructure, or pleas for more officers, to be easily compared to the actual amount of sexual offending taking place in their area, would they?
Figures for earlier years are here, as you can see, it is climbing inexorably – in almost exact divergence to the crime figures for all offences (excluding sexual offences) which are falling year by year.
The policy is a failure in respect of substantively increasing the percentage of allegations that result in a charge or summons.
It is only a success in terms of harrying hundreds of innocent people through the most debilitating, career threatening, home wrecking, health wrecking, process ever devised by the police. You might consider that a ‘success’. I doubt they do.
It is also successful in keeping the flow of funds towards this force, and the appearance of being gainfully employed, as a bulwark against the Winsor reforms.
Neither of those factors will be of any succour whatsoever to genuine victims of sexual abuse.
It is a disgrace.