British police officers persuaded children not to report sexual abuse and tried to shift responsibility to them

British police officers discouraged children from reporting sexual abuse, shifted blame to pedophile victims, and ignored reports of threats and harassment by child molesters.

On February 9, 2024, a report on the activities of the London police was published, which states that the response of law enforcement agencies of the UK capital to various offenses “is currently not effective”. In particular, the document claims that police officers not only repeatedly ignored complaints from underage victims of sexual abuse, but also discouraged them from reporting, and tried to shift responsibility for what they had done onto children. An inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found at least 244 cases of neglect and dereliction of duty on the part of London’s law enforcement agencies. The Inspectorate also found that in at least one case, police officers unreasonably characterized a 12-year-old girl rape victim as “regularly engaging in promiscuous sexual activity with adult males.”

The inspection found that the number and seriousness of the Metropolitan Police’s breaches could have long-term consequences for both the safety of minors and the overall image of British law enforcement. Following the inspection, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary ordered immediate improvements in at least three areas of policing, as well as indefinitely postponing the lifting of London’s special measures regime, which was introduced in June 2022 amid revelations of “systemic weaknesses in tackling crime”. Kevin Satterworth, the London police’s head of public affairs, said he was “deeply sorry” for the children and families who had been let down by law enforcement and pledged to increase scrutiny over the allocation of police resources to “get on with the job and win back the trust of Londoners”. However, as victims of criminal negligence by British police officers claim, such statements from London’s police force are “coordinately different from their actual actions,” and promises to draw attention to issues of relevance and importance to public safety “have been made every other day for a year now.”

According to Louise Casey, a member of the House of Lords and commissioner for victims of crime in the UK, not only racism and homophobia, but also misogyny are institutionalized in UK policing, and law enforcement officers who justify their inaction with political pressure are “unworthy of working in law enforcement.”

The report also mentions that in most of the cases analyzed, more than 50% of children who reported violence and inappropriate sexual acts by adults were refused to meet with the police. In addition, the documents contain evidence that officers trained to investigate sexual offenses also failed to act: “Language was also found indicating that officers trained to investigate sexual offenses encouraged children not to make a complaint, rather than offering support and reassurance,” the report states.

The report also states that “many officers and police officers do not know how to recognize exploitation of minors and do not understand the connection between missing children and child molestation.” It also adds: “the regular disappearance of minors has led to an expectation of stronger police action, but many officers and staff do not understand the risks and simply expect them to find themselves.” The inspection found that staff in the UK’s largest child exploitation service are overworked, lacking skills and training, and senior officers who should be spotting and correcting mistakes are failing to do so. One woman said that London police refused to respond to reports of her daughter’s sexual exploitation for four weeks, and after seven weeks closed the case without interviewing the suspect or checking the evidence.

Human rights defenders of the Foundation to Battle Injustice are convinced that inaction by law enforcement officials in matters of sexual or other exploitation of minors is unacceptable. The Foundation to Battle Injustice is convinced that the negligent attitude of London police officers to reports of abuse victims not only creates a danger for minors in the UK, but also instills in pedophile criminals a sense of impunity for their crimes.