The Met have finally noticed they have a terrible problem with rape, spotting it as figures for people reporting rape to the police have taken a dive recently. So they appointed a shiny new head of their Sapphire unit, and in an interview with the Guardian he has announced the changes he will make.
He has plans for environmental interventions to tackle rape, notably using licencing laws to get pubs and bars where rape and sexual assault are prevalent shut down, and increase surveillance of men who have never been charged with rape, but intelligence suggests they are perpetrators.
Neither of these measures strike me as particularly effective in dealing with rape culture. Are there pubs and clubs which are “rape-hotspots”, or is it more that the heterosexual “pulling” scene enables rape and sexual assault rather easily. Meanwhile, the covert policing tactics are creepy, immoral, and will increase a perception of perpetrators as “the real victims” of rape. Furthermore, how exactly will they be getting this information? What makes some men pre-predators in the Met’s book?
Basically, these are rather authoritarian and punitive measures for dealing with a problem which is societal.
The good news is, this probably won’t really be the focus of the Met’s new approach to rape, because the new chief is also going to focus on women, raising awareness about how they can “reduce vulnerability”. Yeah, so they’ve not changed at all in their stance towards victim blaming.
To sum up his approach, then, women should be a bit more careful, alcohol is definitely to blame, so maybe avoid going to pubs the Met don’t close down. Also, there’s some men who are predators, but the rest of them are probably all right.
Ineffectual, and fairly offensive.
What the Met should be doing (if they don’t go and live in the sewers and bother us no more) is looking at the shit in their own backyard. They contribute wholesale to rape culture. They’ve been implicated in huge failures to investigating rape, in ways which are criminally negligent. They have been implicated in rapes. When they actually bother investigating, it is half-arsed or downright invasive for the women.
And they just don’t understand rape and rape culture.
They have a lot of work to do themselves, but rather than focus on their own failings, they’re pointing to the nearest ghastly nightclub with a sticky floor and screaming “SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING.”
Society as a whole is fairly weak on its understanding of rape culture, and the police don’t help at all.
3 thoughts on “The Met make a rudimentary effort to tackle rape culture. Poorly.”
This is headline grabbing and the equivalent of ‘look busy when the boss passes’ rather than actually achieving anything.
The previous overall head of Sapphire actually had a good grasp of rape culture (seriously) but he was isolated by other top brass who wouldn’t approve many of his plans, hated by the Sapphire officers for challenging the intrinsic bias amongst them and found lacking by women’s groups for never really managing to change things, but he did stand up for individual victims in a way that the rest of the Met didn’t do.
So now we’ve replaced him with a cowboy type who thinks he’s playing games like a big boy. It’s all bells, whistles and Mafia-style stings for him and what for the victims? More suggestion it’s their fault? He say 80% of victims have a vulnerability including mental health issues (and of course disability) and the insinuation is that they need to hop to it and do something about these things to prevent rape. He thinks its as simple as having a glass of water between drinks and the problem’s solved.
I look forward to the upcoming civil cases handing his arse back to him on a plate. We need to keep the pressure up on his unit because the it does help. They were doing nothing about falsified documents a few years ago, now there are court cases. Progress is too slow and the Met are too resistant, but it is there.
What this will almost certainly lead to is pubs and clubs in working class areas being subjected to harassment and/or closure. It will also just make any real predators move elsewhere, rather than solve the problem by not just investigating rape as the serious crime it is, but also recognising that it’s not just a working class thing. A woman has just as much chance of being date-raped after a night in a Kensington wine bar as in a Newcastle pub – possibly even more so.
These problems won’t be solved by what amounts to collective punishment, but by tackling sexism head-on in all its forms, in particular lad-culture, and expecting the police to do that is like asking a snake to pull its own fangs