‘They lied to me’: Sexual assault victim failed by police for three years

A woman who reported a sexual assault to the police in 2020 was told in December 2023, that her case had been closed the same year despite officers’ “promises” to investigate.

The woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons – is a resident of Bromley. She reported her assault to Bromley police station in High Street, Bromley, on November 15, 2020.

She said: “They wanted me to give a statement and I asked for a female officer but they said a woman wouldn’t be available for two weeks.

“I was scared, this was the first time I had ever been assaulted, so I said I would speak to a man.”

She said during the interview she gave the officer details to contact an eyewitness of the incident.

The woman said: “He promised me he would investigate and contact my witness. I left feeling hopeful.”

After hearing nothing back, the woman called the station on December 12, 2020. She said the investigating officer told her there was no CCTV evidence of the attack so he would close the case.

She said: “I was so shocked I was nearly crying. I asked how it is possible to close the case if I had an eyewitness and he told me he hadn’t contacted them.”

The woman said the officer seemed to be “in a hurry” on the phone which made her feel “uncomfortable”, but he promised again to contact her witness.

She said: “I believed him again.

“For months I called my witness and every time she told me the police had not called her yet.”

In September 2023, the woman made a formal complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) through its website, which was passed to the complaints unit in Newlands Park, Sydenham.

The watchdog’s involvement is only initiated through a referral from the Met. A spokesman from the IOPC said it did not receive a complaint referral from the Met regarding the case.

The woman said: “A week later police contacted my witness to organise a date for her to be interviewed at the station. That was the last we heard from them.”

In December 2023, she visited Bromley police station to ask for an update.

She said: “The receptionist told me my case had been closed in 2020 – the same day the officer called me and promised he would investigate. He lied.”

The woman said the police’s handling of her case has had a damaging effect on her mental health and left her with “little faith” in the Met’s policy on reports of sexual assaults.

She said: “I told them I was worried about my safety and my family’s safety and that this man knew my address. I have been scared for three years.

“This man might hurt another woman.

“I’ve wanted to take my case to court – how do I do that without an investigation?”

The Met has been approached for comment.

Pictured top: Bromley Police Station (Picture: Google Street View)

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