The Metropolitan Police pressed rape victims to drop allegations to improve their detection rates, a damning investigation revealed today.
The Met's dedicated sex crime unit came under fire from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for "failing to believe victims" and putting targets before protecting victims.
In one case the Met's Sapphire unit pressed a woman to drop a rape claim against a man who went on to murder his two children, the IPCC found.
The woman's rape allegation was dismissed by a detective sergeant based in the Sapphire unit at Southwark, south London, who said the circumstances did not amount to rape because the woman "consented."
The IPCC said in its report that the woman's allegation of rape "should have been believed and thoroughly investigated."
IPCC deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass said: "There's no doubt this was an incredibly serious, shocking incident.
"We know with all the cases that we've dealt with that the consequences of not dealing with allegations of rape can be extremely serious.
"This is yet another tragic illustration of that."
The case sparked a wider investigation into the Sapphire unit between July 2008 and September 2009, the results of which were published today.
The IPCC found that the unit was "underperforming and overstretched" and that victims were pressured into retracting statements, which meant that the alleged crime was not recorded boosting the unit's clear up rate.
In a foreword to the report, Ms Glass said: "Today's report brings to an end the IPCC's involvement in this sorry chapter of the Sapphire unit's history.
"The approach of failing to believe victims in the first instance was wholly inappropriate. The pressure to meet targets as a measure of success, rather than focusing on the outcome for the victim, resulted in the police losing sight of what policing is about - protecting the public and deterring and detecting crime."
Scotland Yard said it welcomed the findings of the report.
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