Presumed Guilty (cont.)

Concluding the search for “Special Notice 11-02”, the Metropolitan Police Service’s never-before-seen document overturning the presumption of innocence

Earlier this month, I blogged about my enquiry to the UK’s Metropolitan Police Service requesting a copy of “Special Notice 11-02,” an official police document issued in 2002 which – according to this controversial Feb. 10 Guardian article by police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe – said that police officers should “accept allegations made by the victim in the first instance as being truthful.”

Today I received a copy of “Special Notice 11-02” from the Met’s Information Rights Unit. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time the document has been made available to a member of the public, thus answering a couple of previously unanswered questions recently asked by blogger Anna Racoon (you can read her thorough post on the subject by clicking here).

First of all, the document does indeed appear to reverse the presumption of innocence for suspected sex offenders (however, the wording is slightly different to that used by Hogan-Howe in the Guardian). Here’s what it says:

Special Notice 11-02 Principle 1

Second, the document appears to have been authored – or at least approved – by the Assistant Commissioner of Territorial Policing.

Special Notice 11-02 Assistan Commissioner of Territorial Policing

In ‘02, this position was held by Michael J. Todd QPM (deceased), who was appointed chief constable of the Manchester Police Service later that year.

There is still no explanation as to why “Special Notice 11-02” remained hidden for 14 years. That may prove to be a question worth asking. Stay tuned.

Click here to read a copy of “Special Notice 11-02.”

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.