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Police In Somerset, England Take an ‘Al Capone’ Approach to Rape

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A new strategy at the police center in Bridgwater, Somerset named “Operation Bluestone,” emphasizes suspects and better victim assistance, Alexandra Topping reports for the Guardian. The investigators on this team spend less time questioning the credibility of victims and more time looking at how they can disrupt violent, sexual crimes. Described as an “Al Capone” approach to catching rapists, investigators participating in Bluestone look for evidence of grooming, coercion and exploitation when interviewing suspects, and, if they suspect ongoing risk to the community, aim to disrupt them through harm prevention orders or potential driving disqualifications they can levy against a suspect before they’re charged.

‘Disruption officers’ are assigned to focus on suspects, while ‘engagement officers’ interview and support victims. “I think all of that is sending a message to a perpetrator that actually this behavior is not risk-free for you. We’re watching you,” said Sarah Crew, the Avon and Somerset chief constable and the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) lead on rape.

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