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Sarah Simcock acts for IPCC in directed police disciplinary hearing.

5th August 2013

The IPCC directed that gross misconduct proceedings should be brought by the Metropolitan Police against DS Blackbrow who worked at the Sapphire Unit at Southwark, a specialist rape and sexual offences investigation unit, in 2008.  DS Blackbrow was alleged to have effectively buried a rape allegation, reported by a victim against her husband, due to his concern that it would not proceed and so would adversely affect the unit’s crime detection figures.  He was said to have ordered another officer not to record the allegation and not to investigate it.  No rape investigation was carried out.  Following a five day hearing the Panel found those allegations unproven and so did not make any finding of gross misconduct.  The officer was found to have committed misconduct in failing to review the log detailing the rape allegation and was given a written warning.

A wider investigation by the IPCC found that practice in the unit generally, which had been approved by the Senior Management Team, was responsible for failing victims by inappropriately persuading them to retract allegations contrary to the MPS Standard Operating Procedure on the investigation of rape in order to improve the unit’s performance and meet targets in relation to the detection of crimes.  The Southwark Sapphire Unit has since been disbanded and Sapphire is now under centralised command.
Edward Pleeth acted as Independent Legal Advisor to the Panel.
For the IPCC press release and further press coverage see:

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