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.