If Sapphire had been created to protect the rapist, John Worboys, they couldn’t have done a better job.
For 30 years WAR has been doing all it can publicly and privately for the police to take rape seriously, and for 30 years all we have seen is a series of public relations exercises while rape continues to be deprioritised and one case after another is sabotaged by the police.
We are constantly told that rape cases are particularly difficult to prove. The truth is that the police are the rapists’ best friend, and this case proves it. What all these women suffered is a result of a comprehensive refusal by London Sapphire to act on rape allegations: a refusal to gather and keep evidence, search premises, and interview witnesses, and a readiness to dismiss the word of any young woman who has been drinking or drugged and even children, a habit of delaying arrests for days, weeks, or months while rapists continue to assault more and more girls and women.
While the public make protection from violent crime their top priority for what the police should be doing, the Met and the Home Office have other priorities. Investigating rape is low-priority, low-resourced police work. Every day rape survivors comment on how terrorism, surveillance of protests, property crime and arresting sex workers take precedence over the safety of women and girls.
“Public information campaigns” by the Met, the GLA, and the Home Office, advising women to avoid unlicensed minicabs and watch our drinks, distract from the real danger resulting from incompetence, prejudice and laziness by the criminal justice authorities.
No doubt we will be told again that the black cab driver case is an isolated incident and offered more technical fixes. But the only way we will see real change, as opposed to cover up, is for those responsible for this disaster at the highest levels to be sacked – just as they would be in other jobs where dereliction of duty leads to innocent lives being wrecked. This time heads must roll.
Women Against Rape
020 7482 2496