The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have criticised Dyfed-Powys Police force for their handling of a 2005 rape allegation after “both individual and organisational failures” meant an allegation was not properly investigated despite the suspect being a known sex offender.
The original claims were made when a young woman reported the rape to Dyfed-Powys Police in April 2005 alleging that she was raped 10 years earlier as a child.
But the IPCC said a series of errors “led to a Dyfed-Powys Police response so inept that it borders on the unbelievable.”
Criticising the force IPCC Commissioner for Wales Tom Davies said: “This woman came forward to report an alleged rape that had occurred when she was a child.
“This must have been a very difficult thing for her to have done and she was entitled to a proper investigation.”
The IPCC investigation found evidence to suggest an acting detective sergeant, a detective sergeant and a detective inspector failed to ensure the rape investigation was progressed.
The report concluded they did not provide the quality of service a rape victim should expect of a police force and said it was a “tragedy” the case was not better investigated.
The claims only resurfaced during a trial for a different case centring on a rape allegation in 2009 when she appeared as a witness.
During the course of the trial the defence questioned her about the allegation of rape she made in 2005, which had been revealed during the disclosure process.
She was unable to explain the outcome of the rape allegation as she informed the court she had not heard anything further after reporting the matter to the police. She did confirm that she had made a statement confirming the details of the allegation.
The file relating to her allegation had been misplaced and statements then made by the officers led to the young woman facing hostile questioning when she appeared in court.
Further enquiries by police confirmed that her recollection of events was correct and a file was subsequently located. This contained the original statements and also contained a further allegation made by another victim against the suspect and which had not been recorded as a crime or investigated further.
The suspect had never been arrested and the investigation was never concluded.
All four of the officers have since attended misconduct meetings and the policy for dealing with rape allegations in the force area has been updated and improved.