Rape Victims: Disclosure of Evidence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department 4:33 pm, 29th April 2019

The Mother of the House is entirely right to state that a huge and complex raft of problems underlies this issue, and to point out that in the past there have been—but I hope will not be in future—failings in how the police used their powers and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities in this area. One thing from which I take encouragement is the police leadership’s candour in recognising that at the heart of this is a problem of culture in the police, and a need for them to take disclosure more seriously and not see it as an administrative bolt-on.

The guidance could not make it more explicit that complainants’ mobile telephones should not be examined as a matter of course, and that where they are, the level of extraction should be proportionate. The guidance makes that clear, and we expect the police to follow it. The Mother of the House makes good points about the workings of the courts in this area, and that is a priority for both Ministers who flank me—the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend Edward Argar, and the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend Victoria Atkins.