Police Chief: ‘Automatic Belief’ of Rape Accusers Needs Review, Restore ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’

rape
Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty

Police should reconsider their policy of always automatically believing rape accusers says Sara Thornton, the head of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).

The former Chief Constable of Thames Valley also slammed the practice of instantly regarding complainants as “victims” when no facts have been established and nothing had been proven, The Times reports.

A national police policy, backed by the National College of Policing, says rape accusers should always be “believed”, echoing the language of far-left radical feminists who believe we all live in a “rape culture”.

Critics say police have gone too far, and the policy abandons the core justice principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

Ms. Thornton’s comments come after two rape cases – that of accusers Isaac Itiary, 25, and Liam Allan, 22 – collapsed in quick succession, with one young man being kept on bail for two years and the other spending time in jail.

In both instances, the police had failed to disclose text message evidence proving the young men were innocent. One woman had routinely lied about her age and the other admitted to enjoying her relations with the young student she accused.

Both men have had their identity made public and were dragged through the press, whilst their accusers remained protected by anonymity rules.

Ms. Thornton’s intervention comes as Lord Macdonald of River Glaven QC, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, said excessive focus on victims’ rights had led to recent police failures.

He claimed that a “hostile attitude to suspects that borders on contempt for them and their rights” had developed, adding: “Failure to disclose evidence is a symptom of this contempt.”

Sir Richard Henriques, a retired High Court judge who examined the Metropolitan Police’s conduct during the Operation Midland investigation into an alleged paedophile ring, said instruction to “believe a victim’s account” should be scrapped, and detectives should rather approach all allegations objectively, impartially, and with an open mind.

He also warned that the ‘always believe victims’ policy undermined the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

A spokesman for the College of Policing said: “It is vital that the public have trust and confidence in police investigations and we know, both from past investigations and extensive research, that one of the main reasons victims do not report abuse is a fear of not being believed.”

.