Training to improve rape convictions

Lancashire Constabulary is continuing to lead the way in the investigation of rape and serious sexual assault thanks to the introduction of a new in-house training course. The course is aimed at providing front-line officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to respond and deal with complaints of rape and serious sexual assault. The one-week course will train officers on the crucial actions which must be carried out within the "golden hour" following a complaint of rape or serious sexual assault.

It includes fast track actions on arrival and places a strong emphasis on the welfare of the victim, including forensic examination at the SAFE Centre in Preston. This centre provides victims with immediate medical help and counselling on one site.

The course also covers the preservation of forensic evidence, such as the use of Early Evidence Kits, techniques in recording evidence of an early complaint and in taking the first account from a complainant.

A new report recently highlighted Lancashire Constabulary as having the sixth highest conviction rate in the country for rape investigation (10.3% in 2007) and it is hoped the new course will improve this rate even further.
Detective Inspector Derry Crorken, from Lancashire Constabulary's Criminal Investigation Training Department, said: "By training 120 officers across the Constabulary (20 per division), this will enable divisions to be able to respond to complaints of rape or serious sexual assault within one hour. This is in line with new national guidance from the Home Office published in April 2009 and is something in which Lancashire Constabulary was already leading the way. Already over 35 staff have been trained and are in place within divisions and the plan will see all 120 trained within the next few months."

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