For the past 50 years, the police in London have never been allowed to investigate claims of sexual assault or harassment against individuals that work inside and outside the agencies that offer support to survivors of sexual abuse.
Prime Minister Theresa May said that she will report to Parliament that she has made changes to what passes for “protocol” surrounding allegations of misconduct. She will make some minor changes, like the timing of the announcement, to the statute of limitations for bringing future charges, and to the interim reporting procedure.
May said the police will have an additional power in the future, and will be able to investigate allegations that cross their jurisdiction.
Currently, people must first contact Greater Manchester Police. Of course, the initial reporting procedure must be carried out, and all cases must be dealt with with the utmost urgency. The delay in releasing a report from the Greater Manchester Police was not due to a delay in the police’s approach to investigations. This department was reluctant to release the investigation’s findings and report because one of the high-profile individuals concerned, Max Clifford, was convicted of non-molestation.
According to the current reporting procedure, the police cannot investigate an allegation until they receive a final report from Greater Manchester Police. In other words, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) can not come into existence until there is a final report from Greater Manchester Police, that provides further evidence of misconduct.
After Clifford was convicted for non-molestation and not jailed for gross indecency (the charge based on a tape-recorded conversation), it seemed obvious that the public prosecutor decided not to pursue the charges. But, the evidence had to be properly processed.
In October 2016, two women came forward with allegations that Clifford molested them between 1980 and 1983. They used the same tactic to bring their cases. They attempted to prove their cases, gathered evidence, and waited patiently while the police gathered more evidence from the victims’ families, and the doctor on duty at the time of the alleged assaults.
In November 2017, the police successfully charged Clifford with two counts of gross indecency, and two counts of indecent assault.
After the completion of the judicial process and Clifford’s conviction, the police decided to consult with the two women who gave the testimonies and witnesses who had already been interviewed by the police, and decide how to proceed.
Britain operates with a Westminster-style system of rules and regulations and procedures. The problem in Britain is that those regulations and procedures lead the police to never prosecute a single one of the countless cases of sexual abuse and harassment that occur in Britain each year.
In the case of political sexual harassment, Britain has a lack of even the most elementary criminal law, let alone a law to prevent sexual assault and harassment. The biggest abusers of this type of behavior and abuse–the political elites in Britain–are in effect allowed to commit the acts because the system of reporting and punishment cannot and does not touch them, because in the eyes of many in Britain, they are too important to the law.
Late last year, one young woman in the United Kingdom spoke out. She told The Sun that she was taken to a VIP politician’s home, where the politician repeatedly forced her to have sex with him.
Her right to speak out is made even easier by the fact that the politician took her home after a political drinks party. This gives her a wide array of testimony. Without the protection of the Westminster system and Theresa May’s media coverage to protect her, she would most likely never have reported the crime.
The police in London are intent on protecting the political elite who abuse the political system for their own power and services, both at work and at home. It will now take a special individual–and not a political police officer–to shine a light on this abuse and turn it into something constructive.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick called for Westminster-style reforms in the wake of the Jeremy Corbyn sexual harassment scandal. Although the press may be outraged, it doesn’t really matter. Dick’s version of reforms are worse. She insists that the victims are all guilty of “misleading” the police with their accusations. Under the David Cameron-supported police reforms, two women from 2013 can be arrested as if they were just two decades old.
Regardless of the degree of these “improprieties,” Britain will never see justice unless the police follow real system of investigation, even the one that’s unlikely to hold anyone accountable.
Rachel Kohn is editor-in-chief of Red State.