To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Department of Justice Answer of 13 September 2022 to Question 47553 on Sexual Offences: Trials, and with reference to The Secretary of State Answer to the Question from the hon. Member for South Shields at Justice Questions on 24 May 2022, Official Report, column 154, how Operation Soteria will help ensure that the focus of investigation is on the accused rather than the victim.
The Home Office is providing £6.65m to support the Operation Soteria programme, which is developing a new national operating model for the investigation and prosecution of rape. The new model will be made available to all police forces in England and Wales from June 2023.
The investigation of rape must be no different to any other crime, with a focus on the suspect rather than the victim. The new model will support officers to better understand the patterns in behaviour that lead to sexual offending and use this knowledge to guide rape investigations and disrupt offenders.
In addition, the programme has worked with the College of Policing to develop, design and pilot a new learning programme for police officers which will strengthen investigative skills and enhance and embed specialist knowledge about sexual offending and victim engagement.