London

Met Police officer sacked over sex assault investigation

A Met Police officer has been dismissed over her handling of a sexual assault complaint, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has said.

The 31-year-old constable had falsified a crime report and misrepresented the policies and procedures of the force.

She also incorrectly stated on a crime report that the complainant no longer wished to pursue the allegation.

Police received the sex assault allegation in January 2008 from a woman who claimed a colleague assaulted her.

The officer, who was attached to the Southwark Sapphire Unit which specialises in sex crime, was asked to investigate.

Inquiries were closed the following April after unsuccessful attempts to trace the suspect, who had failed to attend an arranged appointment at Walworth Police Station.

'Takes courage'

A warrant was issued for the suspect's arrest and the case was closed until the suspect could be found.

The case was reviewed in 2010 and it was decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the case.

The officer was asked to contact the alleged victim to explain this.

It was then that the officer made an entry on a computer database saying the complainant wished to drop the allegation.

When a senior officer contacted the complainant, she said she had told the officer she had been willing to give evidence if the suspect was found.

Concerns were raised with the officer and the case was referred to the IPCC.

IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "It takes courage for victims to report a sexual assault to the police and it is essential that when they do, they are treated with respect, supported and have their allegations thoroughly investigated.

"This was a deliberate neglect of duty and the officer has rightly been found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed from the force."

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