Police in Bedford are putting all their might behind a campaign to ensure victims of rape and sexual offences never go through their ordeals unsupported.
Beds police formed the new Emerald team specially to help victims of rape and sex attacks.
Sadly, the majority of sexual crimes are never reported, and victims suffer alone.
This week is sexual abuse awareness week, and Emerald officers are encouraging more victims to come forward to take advantage of the help and support now available.
The team, whose slogan is ‘It’s not OK’, unites the investigation of domestic and sexual offences – crime types that can share the same characteristics
Detective Inspector Ryan Brammer heads the Emerald team. He said: “We want more people who have suffered rape and serious sexual offences to report it to us so we can help them access criminal justice, disrupt and prosecute offenders and, most importantly, provide a route into other specialist support services to assist them in their recovery.
“As rape is traditionally so under-reported, we see increases in reporting figures to the police as a sign that victims have greater confidence in coming forward, rather than a rise in the crime itself.”
DI Brammer added: “We recognise conviction rates nationally may appear disappointing, but the introduction of our Emerald team reflects great changes in how we investigate rape and sexual offences and ensures we focus strongly on the victims’ needs.”
A key focus is providing the highest level of care, and dispel any worries victims had about approaching police.
DI Brammer said: “As law enforcers we are measured on outcome rates, but we know a court conviction may not be the only positive outcome. For us, it is important that victims are given the full holistic range of support opportunities, including health, counselling and practical support.”
The Emerald unit pledges all cases will be thoroughly investigated, and officers do their best to prevent court cases ending in disappointment.
DI Brammer added: “Coming forward is the first step to ensuring you get the right support. It gives us the chance to bring those responsible for these invasive, distressing and completely unacceptable crimes to justice.”