Police Scotland praised over the way it investigates rape cases

Police tape

Police Scotland has been praised for the way it investigates cases of rape.

In a report, the Inspector of Constabulary Derek Penman said the creation of a single force has brought a more consistent approach to inquiries.

The report assessed and praised the way police in Fife investigate rape.

Mr Penman singled out the way police link with voluntary sector victim support agencies and the national rape task force.

Last year in Fife there was an 85% increase in the number of reported rapes and police in the area had one of Scotland's highest detection rates.

However, the report highlighted that figures varied across the country, with 19 out of the 32 local authorities reporting an increase in reported rapes, while numbers dropped markedly in the 13 other areas.

Mr Penman suggested in his report that Police Scotland commissioned research to better understand the local variations.

'Attitudinal change'

He also praised the national rape taskforce and the 14 divisional rape investigation units but said their effectiveness was hampered by the lack of an integrated IT system.

Mr Penman said: "The majority of rape victims in Fife commented favourably on how they were treated by the police, with the investigative process and their options clearly explained to them.

"This is echoed by the support groups who report an attitudinal change by police in the investigation of rape with a greater focus on empathy shown to the victim.

"However, I recommend Police Scotland works with its criminal justice partners and rape advocacy groups on ways to measure the victim's confidence and satisfaction, as it was reported to us that almost half of rape victims were not happy with the level of feedback they received as the investigation progressed through the criminal justice process."

The report made eight recommendations for Police Scotland including more training, resources and a review of task force management structure to better deal with domestic abuse and rape investigations.

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