Dedicated police teams dealing only with offences including rape could be set up in a bid to increase the number of successful prosecutions.
For the first time special units, rather than CID or Major Crime, look set to investigate offences related to child protection, adult protection, domestic abuse, public protection, rape and serious sexual assault. The three new units would be located in East and West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
Experienced detectives currently within the force would be redeployed to lead them. It is hoped, if the new venture is approved – which depends on an increase in the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) precept being approved and money being available – fewer rape victims would withdraw their statements midway through investigations.
Concerns have been raised about victims speaking to a number of different police officers and it is hoped having special units would prevent this.
PCC Katy Bourne agreed the new units needed funding at a Police and Crime Panel on January 24.
A PCC spokeswoman said: “This investment would, for the first time, provide a specialist rape investigation function across the force, significantly improving the service that victims receive and increasing the chances of a successful prosecution.”
A Sussex Police spokesman added: “A key element of the project has been examining how services to victims of serious sexual offences can be improved.
“Part of this work has examined the feasibility of teams of specialist detectives and dedicated officers in each of the three divisions to investigate allegations of rape and serious sexual assault, working alongside the existing CPTs, APTs and PPO Teams.”
Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp added: “The project drew together a number of reports and recommendations aimed at strengthening our local specialist and criminal investigative functions.
“A central aim of the project is to further improve the service we provide to victims of these offences while maintaining and potentially enhancing our overall capacity and resources.”