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Lancashire
Sunday, April 14, 2024

Rape Investigation Unit That Is Funded by Commissioner’s Fighting Crime Plan Hosts a Visit by Snowden

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Andrew Snowden, visited West Division HQ in Blackpool to meet one of three committed Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) teams bringing offenders to justice and keeping people safe – twelve months on since they were established as part of his Fighting Crime Plan for Lancashire.
The visit saw the Commissioner meet the officers in the team covering the West of the County to discuss the progress and positive impact they have already made over the past 12 months with their victim centred approach.

Funding from the Commissioner has seen more than 40 extra officers join existing colleagues to form dedicated RASSO teams which are playing an important role in delivering Andrew’s key priority tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence in each policing division of the county.

These RASSO teams ensure dedicated investigators with the appropriate training take ownership of investigations and look after the individual needs of victims.

The Constabulary have also developed their capability to extract data from digital devices and are working closely with Lancashire Victim Services to provide dedicated support and with the Crown Prosecution Service to maximise opportunities for prosecution and reduce the length of time taken to bring offenders to justice.

Lancashire is also one of 14 forces to join the expansion programme for Operation Soteria Bluestone, a National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) led and Home Office funded research and change programme that aims to transform the policing response to rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) and will result in a national operating model which will be rolled out to all 43 Home Office forces.

Following the visit, Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden said:

“Rape or sexual assault is a serious and vile crime and completely unacceptable. It is also one of the most complex and challenging crimes police deal with within the criminal justice system.

“I have made tackling rape and sexual violence a key priority in my Fighting Crime Plan and I’m pleased to see that my additional investment, alongside the creation of these dedicated teams, is already having a positive impact across the county in bringing offenders to justice.

“I’m committed to improving outcomes for victims and driving up conviction rates in the county, with the RASSO teams a key part of the work we’re doing to achieve this. Importantly, these teams are working to ensure that victims receive the best possible service from their police force and going after those perpetrating these vile crimes.

“While my key priority is to keep people safe and take the fight to criminals, I also believe that we need to provide the best support to anyone affected by rape or sexual assault. As Commissioner I continue to invest in Lancashire Victim Services to provide specialist, face to face support through their team of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors.

“Sometimes people are afraid to speak to police for a wide range of reasons. However, no matter who you are, how long ago the assault happened or what took place, I’d reassure people they will be treated with compassion and that specially trained officers will do everything possible to trace those responsible and take action against them.”

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