Police Duo Lead Drive To Solve Booze-Related Sex Crimes

Detectives in Chester are working to reduce the number of alcohol-related sex crimes that go unreported or unsolved. Operation Rebel is designed to limit problems, such as memory loss or a lack of evidence, which lead to cases being dropped.

The aim is to bring sex offenders to justice by gathering more evidence and encouraging victims to come forward.

Det Sgt Simon Blackwell, of Chester Specialist Investigation Unit (SIU), said: “We take every report of a sexual offence very seriously.

“The fact a victim has consumed alcohol does not change the way we deal with things. We will investigate every allegation of a sexual offence and do all we can to arrest, charge and bring the offender to justice.

“The fact is, this process can be extremely difficult when a victim can’t remember key details which we need to progress a case. Forensic evidence is also crucial.

“Operation Rebel has helped identify better ways of working so we can overcome these obstacles.”

Operation Rebel is being run by Det Sgt Blackwell, along with Det Cons Clare Fletcher. They analysed sexual assault reports to identify any links to alcohol or licensed premises in the early part of the operation.

This involved working with other organisations, such as healthcare providers and support groups, to identify cases which go unreported.

DC Fletcher said: “We want to show people what they can do to help.

“Businesses in the licensing industry may be in a position to help us when an offence has taken place on their premises.

“Do they have CCTV footage? Is there forensic evidence which they can preserve?

“Schools and colleges can help by raising awareness of how students can stay safe so sexual offences don’t happen in the first place.

“And places such as shelters and refuges can spread the word on how police can and will
help and support when it comes to reports of things like rape and indecent assault.

“We want to make in-roads in all these areas so these aims can be achieved and over the coming weeks and months we’re aiming to do just that.”

Police now plan to work with other sectors such as the licensing industry, victim support agencies and education providers to raise awareness of alcohol-related sex offences.

Officers say they are keen to improve the quality of service provided to a victim.

Sgt Blackwell said: “We are currently reviewing a number of sexual offence cases to ask victims their views on how their case was handled.

“Obviously, these individuals have already been through a traumatic time and we’re keen to make sure this area of our work doesn’t make matters worse.

“We just want to identify what we are getting right and where we may be going wrong so we can improve things.”