Sheffield rape victim ‘badly let down’ by South Yorkshire Police, says watchdog

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A Sheffield rape victim was ‘badly let down’ by South Yorkshire Police officers who failed to investigate her claims of sex attacks, violence and threats to kill, the police watchdog has found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the service the woman received from South Yorkshire Police ‘did not reach the standard a reasonable person would expect’ during a year of abuse at the hands of her ex-boyfriend in the mid 1990s.

The IPCC was unable to find any evidence of the police force recording or investigating the woman’s allegations - including claims she was beaten ‘on at least 30 occasions’ and repeatedly raped.

South Yorkshire Police has now apologised to the victim, who is planning to sue.

She filed a complaint against South Yorkshire Police in November 2014, accusing the force of failing to properly investigate offences she reported.

The woman, now around 40 years old and from Sheffield, claimed officers dismissed her allegations saying that if she did not have any bruises there was nothing that could be done.

She also said she was ‘dissuaded’ from taking any action against her ex when he pushed her into a busy road during a row and was struck by a passing car.

The IPCC investigation found a number of independent witnesses who corroborated the woman’s claims that officers had visited her on a number of occasions.

But the watchdog said the lack of police records had made it impossible to identify officers who had any involvement.

Associate IPCC Commissioner, Tom Milsom, said: “This woman reported very serious offences to South Yorkshire Police.

“Her complaints should have been recorded as reported crimes by the force – there is no evidence they were.

“They should have been investigated thoroughly – again there is no evidence they were.

“The lack of records means we have no individual officers to investigate, but it is evident the service provided by South Yorkshire Police did not meet the standard a reasonable person would expect. She was let down badly and I welcome the apology from South Yorkshire Police.”

Detective Superintendent Terry Mann, from South Yorkshire Police’s professional standards department, said: “We accept the findings of the independent investigation by the IPCC and have issued an apology to the victim in this case.

“It is deeply disappointing that the service offered to the victim was below standard.

“The way we respond to incidents of this nature now is much different to 20 years ago. We take these reports incredibly seriously, providing a multi-agency response that provides support and reassurance to the victim while an investigation is carried out.”