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Officers reprimanded in cabbie rapist case probe

PUBLISHED: 13:48 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:32 25 August 2010

FIVE officers have been disciplined by a police watchdog following the investigation of black cab rapist John Worboys. Two Detective Constables, a Detective Sergeant and two Detective Inspectors have been a rap on the knuckles following the Independent P

FIVE officers have been disciplined by a police watchdog following the investigation of black cab rapist John Worboys.

Two Detective Constables, a Detective Sergeant and two Detective Inspectors have been a rap on the knuckles following the Independent Police Complaints Commision's probe into how the serial sex attacker was freed and went on to assault seven other women.

Worboys was arrested by Plumstead police the day after a complaint by a 19-year-old Eltham student on July 26, 2007, who said she had been sexually assaulted by the driver of a London cab.

However, he was bailed pending further enquiries and the case was closed in October of that year after it was decided there was not enough evidence to take it to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

This left the former stripper free to attack a further seven women before he was arrested for a second time and charged in February 2008.

In March last year he was convicted of 19 charges, including one count of rape and four sexual assaults from October 2006 to February 2008 and was jailed for an indeterminate time.

After the trial, the IPCC received two complaints - one from the Eltham student attacked in 2007 and one from a woman attacked as far back as May 2003.

As the investigation was launched, Greenwich borough commander Chris Jarrett was forced to stepped down, as reported in the Times.

The Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) head of homicide and serious crime Commander Simon Foy said: "My colleagues have previously apologised for any failings in service, attention or standard of investigation offered to women targeted by Worboys Today I reiterate these apologies unreservedly.

"The two complainants were also let down by the MPS and for this I am also sorry.

"We have learned lessons from both cases and made a number of changes. Between 2001 and 2007, when these offences were committed, investigations of this type were run in each of the 32 boroughs. They are now investigated by a new single command, Sapphire. But we are not complacent. We know that the needs of victims must be at the heart of every rape investigation - that they are treated properly and sensitively and that they know that every possible line of inquiry has been exhausted in an attempt to bring any offender to justice."

Deborah Glass of the IPCC ordered that the officer responsible for the investigation and the Inspector who took no further action should receive written warnings and the other officers should receive the lesser punishment of "words of advice".

IPCC Report extracts

l Three out of five of the Eltham victim's complaints were upheld by the IPCC.

l There was a "serious error of judgement" in failing to search Worboy's home after the victim mentioned a bag of money and being offered tablets.

l A Detective Constable in charge of the Eltham case wrote: "The victim cannot remember anything past getting in the cab, it would seem unlikely that a cab driver would have alcohol in his vehicle let alone drug substances."

l CCTV from the nightclub that the woman had been in before the assault was ready for collection at the beginning of August, but the officer did not collect it until September 10.

l Forensic samples were obtained from the complainant and Worboys on July 27, but were not submitted to the Forensic Science Service until August 29.

l No enquiries were made to interview the woman's friends and inconsistencies in Worboys' account were noted on several occasions but never followed up.

l On October 23, an officer recorded that "it is a mystery" how drugs got into the complainant's system.

l The detective inspector who made the decision to conclude the

investigation in October 2007 did so when all relevant lines of enquiry were not complete.

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