Met Police Sex Crime Command Left Under-Resourced

Dozens Of Positions In The Squad Are Vacant


A number of positions within the Metropolitan Police sex crimes squad remain vacant, meaning the unit is under-resourced at a time when the number of reported sexual offences is increasing.

According to a London Assembly report paper, more than 50 roles in the unit were unfilled in September 2013. Members of the assembly raised concerns that the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command is being placed under strain due to the lack of officers and the rise in the allegations of sex crimes.

In September, despite a number of unfilled roles within the unit, 150 officers were reassigned to other duties such as working on Operation Yewtree. The report also stated that a large proportion of staff on maternity leave were not covered during their absence.

The report follows figures that indicated the number of sexual offences recorded by the police increased by 20 per cent in the year to March.

The London Assembly report predicted the number of alleged child abuse cases handled by the Met Police could increase from hundreds to up to 3,000 in the near future, due to increased awareness of the issue and the willingness of victims to come forward. The report also found that child protection strategies were not always filtering down to officers on the street.

Caroline Pidgeon, deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee, said a number of improvements had been made in the safeguarding of children, but it was important to ensure resources were in place to mount robust and thorough investigations.

Expert Opinion
While some positive steps have been taken in the safeguarding of children recently, the lack of resources in this area highlighted by the London Assembly’s report is troubling. It is vital the staff shortages within the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command are corrected.

“Having the resources to conduct robust and thorough investigations into allegations of sexual offences is vital, particularly for the victims of such crimes. It is crucial these individuals, who often suffer long-lasting effects of their experiences, get the counselling and support they need and deserve to try to come to terms with their experiences.

“It can be extremely difficult for victims of sexual offences to seek help due to feelings of fear, shame and embarrassment, which makes it imperative that their allegations are investigated thoroughly and officers have the time and resources to do so.”
Tracey Storey, Partner