PCC admits Essex Police failed child rape victim
A five-year-old rape victim who wrote to officers telling them they had let her down was failed by Essex Police, the force's police and crime commissioner has said.
PCC Nick Alston said he was "deeply sorry" for blunders which saw the 12-year-old attacker given a final warning - the juvenile equivalent of a caution.
He said the victim and her family had been left "utterly bereft of justice".
Essex Police said it was "disappointed" in the handling of the case.
The girl, who is now eight, wrote: "When I was five something very bad happened and it was your job to make sure he was properly dealt with and punished.
"But you didn't do your job and you let me down."
Mr Alston said: "It has left a victim and her family utterly bereft of justice. Leads to other potential offences were not properly investigated at the time.
"Furthermore, it may have caused people in our county who need the help of Essex Police wondering if they can trust them."
Essex Police said the rape was reported in August 2011. Details of the letter written by the victim emerged in a story in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Officers wrongly claimed that they had reported the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, failed to have the rapist's name added to the Sex Offenders Register and neglected to take fingerprints, DNA samples or photographs, the newspaper said.
In a statement, the force said: "The offender, also a child, was interviewed the same day and in November 2011 was given a final warning, the juvenile equivalent of a caution.
"A complaint from the victim's family was received by Essex Police in March 2013 and this was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
"A full and thorough investigation was led by a detective superintendent and supervised by the IPCC and as a result of its findings, three officers were subject to misconduct proceedings and received written warnings.
"Essex Police takes allegations of child abuse incredibly seriously and is hugely disappointed that on this occasion it failed to deliver."