The Presumption of Innocence.

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by Anna Raccoon on February 14, 2016

There was a howl of outrage when it appeared that the Presumption of Innocence had been suspended for those individuals with a penchant for strapping explosives around their waist and ensuring that the police had a neat pile of 24 or 48 disembodied hands to match up in an effort to find the guilty pair responsible for blowing up their fellow citizens.

Liberty, all manner of glossy barristers, Amnesty International; practically chained themselves to the railings in Parliament Square on behalf of suspected terrorists who had been deprived of their internet and mobile phones under Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 – the Presumption of Innocence was apparently the most valuable asset the United Kingdom possessed, and any abrogation from it – like assuming someone might be guilty without benefit of lengthy multi-barristered trial, rendered us no better than a rogue State.  How dare the Police take it upon themselves to presume guilt? Who did they think they were?

Not one of those expensively tutored, liberty loving, legal assinegoes can be found complaining or even mentioning an internal Police document – Special Notice from 2002 (11/02) – which formed the genesis of formal Police Policy being ‘Believe the Victim’. Everything about that statement reeks of abrogation from the Presumption of Innocence. It is ‘Believe’ not ‘treat with a professional impartiality’. It is the use of the word ‘Victim’ rather than complainant.

Special Notice from 2002 (11/02) has never been made public. I have had to work from excerpts which appeared in a 2013 hearing regarding compensation for victims of John Warboys, and an old Observer article; it might appear to be the Holy Grail for those like myself seeking the origins of the dramatic change in policy that #Ibelieveher represented – but I confess, I am no nearer to discovering who wrote that Special Notice nor why – if you can throw any light on this I would be grateful. This is what it said:

Principle 1

It is the policy of the MPS to accept allegations made by any victim in the first instance as being truthful. An allegation will only be considered as falling short of a substantial allegation after a full and thorough investigation.

If you want the fullest available details of this official policy change, you will just have to wade through all 129 pages of DSD & NBV v Commissioner of Police for Metropolis. Enjoy.

By 2014, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary was grandly proclaiming:

‘The presumption that a victim should always be believed should be institutionalised.’

It is said there is a current perception amongst many officers that the policy of belief applies throughout the life of the investigation.

When Dame Elish Angiolini reviewed the Met policy ten months ago (so why is Sir Richard Henriques invited to review it once again?) she was surprised:

to hear the suggestion made in several focus groups, that it is police policy for officers always to ‘believe the victim’. It was clear too that this understanding caused resentment amongst some officers, especially when it led to a perception that they must continue to investigate cases regardless of whether or not the allegation was true, while being required to suspend disbelief.

Dame Elish suggests that:

‘it is more appropriate for criminal justice practitioners to remain utterly professional at all times and to demonstrate respect, impartiality, empathy and to maintain an open mind’.

The alternative approach of ‘always believing’ the complainant may prejudice the impartiality of the officer’s role and lead to their failing to recognise or give weight to other evidence inconsistent with the complainant’s account.

We begin to see the tussle taking place within the Metropolitan Police between the blind, blinkered, uncaring, bloody evil, pernicious, ideologues who will persist in bankrupting the tax payer and persecuting the innocent on the grounds that there is no such thing as a false allegator – and those who adhere to the time honoured tradition of an impartial police force, investigating without fear or favour, but retaining common sense when dealing with outlandish allegations. We could call it the Spindler/Settle Line in the quicksand that is the murky world of Historical/hysterical Sexual Allegations.

On the subject of false allegations, we see Mr Justice Green referring to that same hidden Policy note:

Research on false allegations have shown that they account for as few as 2% of all crimes of rape, the same percentage as for many other crimes.

However, where officers detect false allegations, consideration should be given to obtaining medical assistance for the victim and/or charging them with perverting the course of justice.

Yet that figure is open to reinterpretation – depends how you count the numbers:

‘A variety of definitions of false allegations of rape were found to be in operation amongst police and prosecutors. These ranged from a broadly drawn definition of false allegations relating to intoxicated complainants (and poor recollection of details), delays in reporting, witness retractions, lack of physical injury and lack of medical evidence, and a narrower definition based on situations where the complaint was considered malicious’.

The review identified that where the ‘broadly drawn’ definition was used 36 cases out of the 299 (12%) could be classified as false. Using the ‘narrower’ definition, just 9 cases (3%) qualified as false.

However, the CPS soon stamped on that suggestion:

If there is any question as to whether the original allegation might have been true, then there is not a realistic prospect of conviction, and no charge of perverting the course of justice should be brought’.

Perverting the Course of Justice – (2011) Crown Prosecution Service.

Neither definition mentions the most likely categories: mental health issues; learning disability/difficulties; repeat victimisation; and people seeking attention and or affection.

This division between believers and non-believers can be seen in the focus groups:

A focus group of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) claimed that ‘in four years as an ISVA I’ve never met a woman I felt made a false allegation’. There was also a belief that so-called ‘false allegations’ can be re-living earlier, including childhood, experiences.


Some specialist officers trained in sexual offences investigative techniques (SOIT officers) who participated in the focus groups reported that they regularly encountered false allegations. One estimated it might be as high as 30% of cases though this was an extreme view.

Young people lying their way out of trouble were considered not uncommon, and as in the Crown Prosecution Service report on perverting the course of justice and false allegations SOIT officers said they had encountered complainants who, having embarked on a lie, found it difficult to ‘stop the ball rolling’.

A Detective Constable described making a rape report as like ‘unleashing the dogs of war’, as once started it was almost impossible to halt the investigation. Criminal compensation claims were also suggested by a minority as a potential motive for a false allegation.

While these views were not shared by all the SOIT officers who spoke to the review, there was widespread agreement that many complainants needed specialist support.

Concern, and sometimes resentment about the resources taken up dealing with false allegations, was expressed in focus groups. First response officers described such cases as‘a complete waste of time’. SOIT officers identified there being insufficient resources to investigate all reports and that they had to ‘filter the false jobs out’ to focus on the ‘real jobs’.

Detective Constables expressed concern that time spent on false allegations diverts officers away from genuine reports.

Some police officers perceived a reluctance at senior level to admit or discuss the true level of false or ‘delusional’ reporting, and that this was down to political pressure and inextricably bound up with attitudes towards ‘no criming’.

All of the above was recorded a bare ten months ago – you can see that the fissures in the Met police’s confidence in #Ibelieveher are both deep and current. Does that mean that #Ibelieveher would be more effective if more Police were forced into line? Or was it only ever just a catchy phrase and ‘disbelief’ not truly the problem?

According to 2005 research key factors preventing complainants from completing the initial investigative process included ‘being disbelieved and fear of the criminal justice system’.

However, in the 2011/2012 British Crime Survey, ‘female complainants’ most frequently cited reasons for not reporting were that it would be ‘embarrassing’, they ‘didn’t think the police could do much to help’, that the incident was ‘too trivial/not worth reporting’, or they saw it as a ‘private/family matter and not police business’.

Focus groups of complainants told the review that failure to report was less to do with attitudes towards the police and more to do with their own feelings of guilt, shame and wanting to protect their privacy.

Perhaps the real reason Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe would like a new inquiry is that he would really rather you didn’t read this recent and comprehensive review of Metropolitan Police Policy and behaviour towards sexual offending – a review which reveals more than it conceals for once?

In a recent BBC interview, Sir Bernard said:

‘I think we have really got hung up on this word belief, it’s confused officers, and my point would be we of course have to be empathetic, we want people to believe we are going to listen to them.

‘We want to be open minded about what they tell us and then what the suspects tell us.

‘And then we have got to test all that evidence.

‘There is a great danger at the moment with the advice that is around that perhaps there is a tendency to think we will always believe any complaint that is made.

‘That’s not wise for any good investigator.’

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Public February 14, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Thanks once again, for your enlightenment.

BTW the link behind “Constabulary was grandly proclaiming” appears broken.


Anna Raccoon February 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Now I’ve lost the link too!

It was the 2014 ‘Making the Victim Count’ from HMIC.


Span Ows February 14, 2016 at 4:55 pm
Pericles Xanthippou February 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Joe Public, I think Anna’s link might originally have been one of the following:

Making the victim count (web page)

Making the victim count (PDF file)



Span Ows February 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm



Fred Karno February 14, 2016 at 9:03 pm
Eric Hardcastle February 15, 2016 at 3:38 am

Keir Starmer recently announced that false accusations were rare using the fact- they are rarely prosecuted. An analogy would be that because few burglaries are solved, they don’t really happen.

And this man was in a position of power and still seeks to be.

This subject interests me because over 25 years ago my nephew was accused by a youth of raping him. By the time I got to the West End police station to aid him the case had been solved. It was solved because the cops kept an open mind and did their job impartially. A forensic inspection proved the claimant’s story to be false and after persistent questioning he admitted it was the beginning of a blackmail attempt by him and a much older man he lived with. As one DC said “they must have done this before”.

The same police were extremely disappointed but understood when my nephew did not want to participate in a blackmail trial so they had to let the would-be blackmailer go free. Needless to say he never put himself in a position ever again where he was alone with any young person but that one night colored his life forever. I just cannot imagine what it does to those that have to go through an entire trial or media trawl like Lord Bramall.


Bandini February 14, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Was Tim Godwin the author of the Special Notice? I’m on a crappy tablet and can’t really check at moment…

“But a lack of detectives has compelled boroughs to break the rules laid out in the 47-page policy document, Special Notice 11/02; A Policy for the Investigation of Rape and Serious Sexual Assaults .
The document says that investigating officers dealing with sexual assault cases ‘must be substantive detective sergeants or substantive detective constables’.
According to those standards, issued by Tim Godwin, now the assistant commissioner for territorial policing…”


Anna Raccoon February 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Yeah, I saw that ‘issued by’ – but its not really substantive. What I want is to know the research that lay behind it.


The Blocked Dwarf February 14, 2016 at 3:00 pm

What I want is to know the research

There’s your problem, right there, you’re assuming that was any.


Anna Raccoon February 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm

I wish I didn’t think you were right!

Happy Valentine’s Day xxx


The Blocked Dwarf February 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Thank you and returned with best wishes for you & The G Man.

BTW it is also our wedding anniversary today (I would be out on licence by now had I…), well one of them anyways. Like Paddington and ursidean birthdays, we have 2 Wedding Anniversaries a year…


Bandini February 14, 2016 at 7:11 pm

There is a reference to it being ‘available on request’ at the following archived page:


Bandini February 14, 2016 at 7:14 pm

And I thought there might be a clue here, but it is heavily redacted:
(It contains the same wording for ‘Principle 1’.)


The Blocked Dwarf February 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

‘The presumption that a victim should always be believed should be institutionalised.’

“Institutionalised” in the same sentence as ‘victim’, I always thought the word was a polite way of saying ‘committed to the funny farm’…which seems strangely apt.


The Blocked Dwarf February 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm

hung up on this word belief, it’s confused officers

For once I agree with the UberCop, ‘belief’ needs to be rewritten as ‘not actively believe nor DISbelieve anyone, complainant nor suspect’….although why it should be necessary in the first place when every single Officer attests; “diligently without fear of or favour to any person”.


Pericles Xanthippou February 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

I too think D. Corporal Hogan Howe right here. In the age of the ‘sound-bite’ they seem to have been bitten by reckless abbreviation: what they want to say is that they’re prepared to lend credibility to the complainant subject to the investigation.

En passant (as they say in Germany): Dem gesperrten Zwerge und der besten Frau der Welt: Glücklicher Hochzeitstag!



The Blocked Dwarf February 14, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Danke und ebenso(?).


Pericles Xanthippou February 14, 2016 at 9:55 pm

Bitte vielmals. ΠÎ?


The Blocked Dwarf February 15, 2016 at 1:38 am

Oh btw ‘blocked’ as in “Verstopfung” (Constipation) not ‘blocked’ as in ‘kettled by the Met’.(I have chronic IBS-D and am a shade under 6ft in my Para Boots…cockney humour).


Dave February 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm

I’m only a layman but I’ve not seen any announcement that Common Law no longer applies in this country. You know- Common Law- based on principles established over the last 800 years that a person is judged innocent until proven guilty. . Are all these subtle and not so subtle changes to the law part of the harmonisation (as the eurocrats might put it) of the different codes across Europe. As I said- I’m only a layman- but this reeks of an imposition of Napoleonic Code where a preson is preseumed guilty unless he can prove his innocence.
It seems we have more than one legal code in use in this country.
Do we get a choice which one we prefer?
Common Law
Napoleonic Code
or Sharia Law?

And did we have any say in the matter?


Ian B February 14, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Nothing to do with the Europeans or their legal system. This came at us from across the Atlantic, not the Channel, and the “modifications” were authored on the basis of Anglic Common/Statute Law by the one and only Catharine Mackinnon, whose specific purpose was to invent a legal framework that could subvert American Law to create what she described as “Feminist Jurisprudence”.


Ian B February 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

At the risk of sounding like a stuck vinyl record, this is not unique to the legal system of England and Wales, nor Britain, it is standard feminist-authored belief and policy among Progressives (which basically defines the ruling elites in all Western nations, currently). This is the result of a long campaign by organised Feminism after their taking ownership of rape, domestic violence etc which has gradually led to these beliefs being considered the only acceptable thing to believe universally among that class, and all the institutions they control, as with the similar universalisation of similar attitudes to race, homosexuality and the latest frontier, transexuality.

It would of course be entirely fair to observe that the “Believe The Victims” cult began in the USA among evangelicals fighting an imaginary war against a plague of Satanic Cultists; but also one must note that the original claims in that regard were mostly of Satanic rituals and murders, then the “breeding of babies for Satan” (possibly inspired partially by Rosemary’s Baby) and it was only when the Feminists got hold of the idea that it morphed into a sexual fantasy land of Satanic Rape (of children, ideally) being the primary motivation. Satan is a man, and it’s all about his Satanic phallus’s perverted desires, and all that.

The methodology of trawling for victims, that began in the USA too, as the bizarre duo of evangelicals and radical feminists joined forces to track down the Satanic cults, rape cults, patriarchal rape system, all sex is rape, think of the children, Oprah and Geraldo, it’s everywhere, believe the children, you don’t believe them what kind of monster are you, are you one of them too? And here we are.

Cleveland and Orkney, and then Shieldfield, were the increasing foreshocks before the earthquake. And here we are. The Police have, let us be clear, done nothing more than obey their institutional masters.


Eric Hardcastle February 15, 2016 at 4:23 am

On Rosemary’s Baby : while Australian law and police have not yet succumbed to the lunacies current in the UK there have been determined attempts to do so by politicians and so-called ‘victim advocates”. The spread of the Satanic Cult nonsense has been prevalent mainly in NSW (and aided by British born former celebrity agent Liz Muliner who was told by a psychic her specialist GP father at Guys Hospital had led a child abuse cult).

There is a Satanic Cult promoter at present who the so-called Truth Movement is proclaiming an heroine and it caused me to read up on one particular MP who embroiled herself in a NSW Royal Commission into various bent coppers there. That Commission concluded that there was no institutional cover-up of pedos but a small group of bent cops had accepted bribes from 2 wealthy pedophiles (both eventually went to jail and died there).

The particular Italian born MP railed in the media and in Parliament about Pedo Rings so much so, her twin gay sons fled the country and have never returned. But she also presented in Parliament details of an alleged Pedophile Ring comprising of judges, police, chauffeurs and MPs who inducted young boys (including their sons ) into this dark Satanic ring that operated over generations.
What she was describing was the exact plot of an Aussie film The Secret Everlasting Family a fictional tale fed to her by a convicted pedophile who claimed to be a ‘whistleblower’ intent on exacting revenge on the authorities for his convictions.


IlovetheBBC February 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

Perhaps Dame Elish took her more balanced and thoughtful view of this because she herself was the subject of vile allegations by the Hollie Greig Hoaxers?


Anna Raccoon February 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm

I remembered that too – and thought she was an interesting choice for the review.


And Another Thing February 14, 2016 at 7:41 pm

We also seem to have one law for the likes of Cliff Richard and one law for suspected murderers and rapists on the run, because naming the latter would cause them “damage or distress”?


IlovetheBBC February 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm

Yes I saw that. I’m having trouble making any sense of police policies – it would seem some police are too!


Cascadian February 14, 2016 at 7:56 pm

The latin phrase the landlady has chosen is perhaps more instructive than she intended, because in an age before gender politics it refers distinctly to” him” ( a male personage).

Modern law seems to this neophyte to be distinctly split by gender, and the woeful nonsense of “believe the victim” as it has been adopted by the Metropolitan Police and CPS seems to be pandering to the feminazi faction of politics and government services (eg Ms Balls and Allison Saunders) to the detriment of mostly male defendants of reasonable monetary means. Their dogmatism appears to exempt females from the latin text.

Perhaps the time has come for Theresa May to email Peels Principles of Law to Bernie Hogan-Howes and Butch Saunders, underlining applicable sections:

1. The basic mission for which police exist is to prevent crime and disorder as an alternative to the repression of crime and disorder by military force and severity of legal punishment.
2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police existence, actions, behaviour and the ability of the police to secure and maintain public respect.
3. The police must secure the willing cooperation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain public respect.
4. The degree of cooperation of the public that can be secured diminishes, proportionately, to the necessity for the use of physical force and compulsion in achieving police objectives.
5. The police seek and preserve public favour, not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to the law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws; by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of society without regard to their race or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
6. The police should use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to achieve police objectives; and police should use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
7. The police at all times should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police are the only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the intent of the community welfare.
8. The police should always direct their actions toward their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary by avenging individuals or the state, or authoritatively judging guilt or punishing the guilty.
9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

My thoughts are not original, but they do I think bear repeating often.

There is no need for further costly public examinations and obfuscation, the landlady points out that adequate (if not downright elaborate) oversight has been applied and the conclusions are obvious-“believe the victim” is a terrible miscarriage of British justice, even Bernie seems to understand this. Allow him his one year tenure to clear out the pernicious affect of feminazi policing, meanwhile Theresa May needs to seriously think on Butch Saunders tenure at CPS and review many other recent appointments of hopeless chief constables.


Moor Larkin February 14, 2016 at 10:13 pm

Keep ’em peeled, indeed


Moor Larkin February 14, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Awesome research.
Almost too much to take in, or do I mean that we have all been taken in.

Just one suggestion re: “Special Notice from 2002 (11/02) has never been made public.”
The synnergy that 2002/03 was also the years of the passing of the NuLabor Sex Laws can surely not be mere coincidence?


Fred Karno February 15, 2016 at 1:12 am
A Potted Plant February 15, 2016 at 3:39 am

Great piece, Anna!
I especially appreciated excerpts from the reports, wherein the reasons why genuinely victimized persons don’t make a police report or perhaps never disclose anything to anyone, are expanded beyond the facile standard explanation: fear of not being believed. It is great to see an expanded understanding of the complex & diverse motivating factors for not reporting/disclosing, including the vastly under-rated (and to some, incomprehensible) factor – that a victimized person might have more pressing “life issues” to deal with, from their perspective. Many of these newly acknowledged factors can be summed up rather simply, as a judgement on the part of the victimized person, that their life circumstances are likely to become WORSE, rather than better, if they were to report/disclose their victimization at that time (or, ever). Such a judgement could be based on misinformation or lack of information of course, including false ideas fed to them by an abuser, especially if they are a minor, but ultimately they understand the realities of their own life better than anyone and have an inalienable right to make such a determination for themselves.

It’s also encouraging to see, in these reports, acknowledgement of how over-rated “I feared that no one would believe me” has been, as a factor in not reporting. For a very long time, that was the ONLY politically correct, socially acceptable explanation – and that has greatly hampered our collective understanding of this issue and been an obstacle to objective research. “What do you mean, you want to research factors that inhibit disclosure of sexual abuse? Victims fear we won’t believe them, everyone knows that, that’s all there is to it – no need to squander our grant monies looking for anything else, thank you…”

You’ve nailed a number of “interested parties” driving the push for “believe the victim claimant, unfailingly” to be institutionalized in every facet of our society, including the criminal justice system, but there’s something else going on that shouldn’t be overlooked. The “Believe The Children” organization wasn’t really about believing child victim’s testimony, it was really about believing whatever an adult claimed that children had experienced. It should have been titled: “Believe US, and whatever we tell you about conspiracies to abuse all of our children”. Some adult victim claimants have very extensive victim narratives…book length in some cases. They aren’t simply demanding that everyone believe that they suffered sexual abuse or sexual assault, they are demanding belief in the entirety of their narrative, which may include racist diatribes, extreme political views or paranoid conspiracy theories of all sorts.


GG February 15, 2016 at 7:16 am

Congratulations. And thank you.


Mzungu February 15, 2016 at 7:30 am

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