Presumed Guilty

The search for “Special Notice 11-02”, the UK Metropolitan Police Service’s never-seen document overturning the presumption of innocence [UPDATED: Read the Met Police’s response to my enquiry by clicking here]

Earlier this year, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe wrote a controversial article for the Guardian arguing that police officers “should not unconditionally believe every alleged rape victim.”

The article alluded to a document issued by the Met in 2002 called “Special Notice 11-02,” which according to this 2014 High Court ruling said that officers should “accept allegations made by any victim in the first instance as being truthful.”

SD and NBV -v- The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis Special Notice

The revelation that the presumption of guilt had been formally codified into official police policy was regarded as “genuinely shocking” by those working within the criminal justice system. The question remained as to why – 14 years after publication – this was only now being made public.

The Met has yet to release “Special Notice 11-02.” There are, however, clues pointing to how it can be obtained. The above referenced 2014 High Court ruling is one. Another comes from the archived Metropolitan Police Authority website, where, according to this Nov. 11, 2002 report by the Met’s Planning Performance and Review Committee, “Special Notice 11-02” was at one time “available on request.”

Police Authority Special Notice 11-02

Earlier this week, I tried my luck requesting a copy of the notice via a general enquiry at the Met’s current website. I’ve since been informed my enquiry is being treated as a Freedom of Information request. Stay tuned.

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