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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:28 pm on 8th July 2010.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe 3:28 pm, 8th July 2010

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for that intervention. The correct word, which I am grateful to my hon. Friend Mr Buckland for supplying, is "empathy". I have no trouble at all with police officers who are not involved with the investigation, and all the support services, giving support to the complainant, but it is absolutely imperative that the police officer or officers involved in the case should be of the right rank. I have seen too many cases involving someone who has probably just become a police constable-other learned hon. Members are saying, "Hear, hear!", because we barristers have had almost daily experience of this. It is also imperative that the police should apply the same standards to complainants in rape and sexual assault cases as in any other case. Some of us have been greatly disturbed by changes in policy codes that seem to suggest that there should be a different standard and test when deciding whether to prosecute in rape and sexual assault cases, because there should not be. If we do all that, there is a good chance that the rape conviction rate, although it is very good-we should get those figures sorted out; perhaps other hon. Members will enlighten us-will rise. I urge the Minister to continue consulting, and perhaps my private Member's Bill could, with the backing of both sides of the House, be the perfect solution.

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