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Commissioner Backs Rape Case Review Plans

14th April 2015

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has given her backing to plans that would give complainants the right to review in rape cases.

The ‘Right to Review’ scheme has been unveiled as part of the Labour party’s election manifesto. Under the plans, it would give those who have complained of an alleged sex crime the right to demand a review of police decisions not to proceed with their case.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has said it’s not good enough that victims and their families are unable to do anything if police decide not to pursue a crime.

The law change would allow victims the right to challenge this decision if police decide to drop a case after a suspect has been identified.

Commissioner Baird said: “I am in favour of any plans which bring improvements to rape cases. I want to ensure these cases are always investigated properly and thoroughly and that victims are listened to and given a right to challenge officers if they disagree with decisions made.

“Under these new proposals, victims are given exactly that right by law.

“I am an advocate for open scrutiny of the police and have worked hard to make sure this happens in Northumbria, particularly in relation to rape cases.”

In January, Vera Baird introduced a Rape Scrutiny Panel comprising of a team of specially trained volunteers who examine case files where it is judged that no crime has been committed or which were said not to have reached the required threshold of evidence to be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Commissioner Baird added: “We have moved quickly to help victims of rape in Northumbria and our new scrutiny procedures will ensure any problems should be identified and actioned.

“These new proposals would compliment and reinforce this ongoing work in the force and should be welcomed.”