London cop fired for rape despite 'insufficient evidence' to prosecute

Friday, November 19, 2010

An officer with London's Metropolitan Police ('the Met') has been fired for raping a woman, despite the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) declining to prosecute after saying there was insufficient evidence to prove the offence. The CPS would have to back the case up beyond reasonable doubt before a court, but the Met's internal hearing considered only the balance of probabilities.

The policeman, whose name was not released as he has not been charged, met the woman — who is in her early twenties — after she became unwell following a night drinking with friends at a hotel party in Russell Square. The officer took her to a nearby pub where he had been drinking; later, he said he got her a glass of water, after which she vomited. CCTV footage showed the pair embrace. They then went to St Pancras railway station, where the officer was to sleep in a police locker room before going on duty that morning.

She would later claim to have little recollection of events, but that she awoke to find herself being raped. She told police in March last year, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched an investigation. The accused man stated at interview the sex was consensual. The IPCC's file was passed to the CPS.

Met Commander Mark Simmons said "[t]his officer acted in an intolerable way and it is only right that once such dreadful behaviour was found proven the man was dismissed from the Met." IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said "[t]he actions of this officer will rightly appal the public as they have appalled me. His behaviour was in my view predatory and he exploited the vulnerability of a young woman. He... took her to police premises and had sex with her without her consent. ... His conduct would be contemptible from anyone — from a police officer it is nothing short of despicable." A Women Against Rape statement called the woman "...very courageous. It is very difficult to report a police officer to the force that the rapist belongs to and we know of a lot of women who are too scared to do that." The group called the CPS's actions "outrageous".