Sunday, December 26, 2010

NYPD to change policies on sex crimes

From Wall Street Journal:

A committee chosen by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to study how his department handles sex offenses has made six recommendations aimed at decreasing the number of misclassified complaints and increasing officer sensitivity when dealing with victims.

The committee, called the Sex Crimes Working Group, was convened in April after sex-crime victim advocate groups and rape counselors said they believed many rape and sexual-assault complaints were being classified as lesser crimes or reports weren't being taken at all.

Paul Browne, the NYPD's spokesman, said that over the past nine months the NYPD has conducted an audit of 1,922 sex-crime cases. Of those, police found the charges in 19 cases were misclassified and needed to be corrected, he said.

Mr. Browne said Mr. Kelly has "accepted all of the recommendations and is moving forward in coming weeks with expanded training and the assignment of the additional detectives to Special Victims."

According to a copy of the committee's report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the committee recommended that all sexual-assault complaints be assigned to Special Victims Division (SVD) detectives who are specially trained in sex-crime investigations. Currently, sexual-assault complaints are also handled by patrol officers.

The committee members believe the change will lead to a decrease in the number of sex-crime misclassifications, the recommendations state.

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