Henriques Report an opportunity to rebalance the scales of justice
The Henriques Report into Operation Midland and Operation Yewtree is a welcome beacon of light in the darkness for those wrongfully acccused of non recent sexual abuse.
The report is to put it mildly, scathing of the way in which such allegations have been investigated in recent years. Henriques is particularly critical of the choice of language used by the police and others in the criminal justice system to describe complainants. Complainants are being wrongly called “victims”. This prejudges the conclusion of investigations before they have even started, which in turn may bias the minds of detectives in the way they search (or don’t search) for evidence that could prove the innocence of the accused.
Furthermore the official stance of the police to “believe the victim” must stop. Henriques says the “instruction to believe complainants has over ridden the duty to investigate objectively and effectively” and that “believing the victim” “strikes at the very core of the criminal justice process”. Strong words indeed, but the wrongfully accused have said this all along and have not been heard.
I was further encouraged to read that Henriques does not believe that false allegations are rare, and states that “investigators should be informed that false complaints are made from time to time”. Well that should be plainly obvious and it should seem shocking that this needs to be said. If anyone is in doubt about this, they should come to one of the FACT conferences and listen to some of the heart rending stories that are only too common. Failing that they could do worse than read the University of Oxford paper The Impact of Being Wrongly Accused of Abuse in Occupations of Trust: Victims’ Voices.
There are plenty more nuggets in this goldmine of a report. Read it and take hope! Then lobby your MP to get it implemented in full.
Read from page 384 of this lengthy report to see Sir Richard’s recommendations and the response of the Met Police.
The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) reported in 2020 that the Met Police was slow to learn the lessons of the Henriques Report