Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie has told the Home Secretary that women’s confidence in the police has been’ badly shaken’ following the conviction of serial rapist and Met officer David Carrick.
Speaking in a debate about the officer’s crimes last week, Baillie asked Suella Braverman what she was doing to ensure forces across the country get their act together so officers are vetted and complaints are taken seriously.
It has emerged there were several chances to unmask Carrick’s crimes involving several police forces but he was not stopped and was able to continue his offending over 20 years.
Her intervention came ahead of the latest public meeting tonight on women’s safety in Stroud at the Sub Rooms.
“Women in Stroud and around the country have woken up with their trust and belief in our police service badly shaken yet again,” Baillie told the House of Commons.
“From speaking to local women, I know that issues in the Met undermine their confidence in Stroud police. They can see that Gloucestershire Constabulary is working hard to protect them and that it is open to change.
“However, when we know that women are routinely not reporting violence, abuse and harassment in part because of a lack of faith in the police, and with each force doing something completely different.
“What is my right honourable and learned friend doing to ensure that all forces get their act together and show the country that they are speaking to each other and that national change will be made on this issue?”
In reply, the Home Secretary said: “My honourable friend is absolutely right to raise the issue of women’s confidence in policing.
“Tangible steps and measures have already been taken, after legislating in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, to address concerns surrounding data extraction from victims’ devices during investigations. We are well on the way to ensuring that victims are not without a phone for more than 24 hours. That has been a real deterrent to women coming forward with complaints about rape and other serious sexual offences.
“We have led with the ground-breaking Operation Soteria programme, a radical transformation in the way the police investigate rape and serious sexual offences.
“We are also protecting the wellbeing of victims during trials by offering pre-recorded evidence for rape victims. Those are just a few of the measures we are taking to send the message to women and girls, “Come forward if you are a victim. If you do, the police will be there to support you.”
Carrick this week admitted 49 counts covering 85 acts of serious offending, including 48 rapes involving 12 victims.