South Wales Police pilots new rape investigation approach dubbed Operation Soteria

Following a UK wide rape review, South Wales Police is piloting a new approach to investigating rape, which focuses on the suspect rather than complainants’ credibility.

The new approach, named Operation Soteria, aims to reduce the likelihood of reoffending and make investigations more thorough and effective.

Detective Superintendent Ceri Hughes said:

“Operation Soteria is a generational, whole system approach to the way that rape is investigated. As per the Police & Crime Plan* victims are at the heart of this approach, and there is significant academic involvement, as well as involvement with both statutory and non-statutory partners.

“We have a great opportunity, as one of only five forces in England and Wales, to lead the way in improving practice in relation to rape investigation. Our involvement in the operation will complement the significant investment we have made, setting up specialist rape investigation teams across the force, resulting in 85 detectives across the force now dedicated to the investigation of rape.”

Operation Soteria was formally launched in force on the 1st of November 2021. The pilot has already:

  • Committed to ensuring that no victim of rape will be without a mobile phone for more than 24 hours. Rape victims can get a loan replacement if the police need their phone for longer than 24 hours.
  • Expanded court capacity to help deliver swift access to justice for victims.
  • Started offering familiarisation meetings to all victims of rape to give victims a chance to meet the Prosecutor and, in appropriate cases, the advocate to discuss the court process and measures available to ensure that they provide their best evidence (this being taken forward by CPS).

Deputy South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Emma Wools said:

“It is essential that we take a collaborative approach with our partners to improve victim’s experience of the criminal justice system and build better, stronger cases so that we see a rise in suspects being charged.

“Preparation is underway, in advance of our Operation Soteria in-depth inspection, which will take place in July 2022, and this will lead to numerous recommendations as to how we can develop and improve our service provision.

“By working with colleagues in the CPS, we can create a joint action plan and further demonstrate our ongoing commitment with partners to ensure victims receive the best service and investigative outcome possible.”

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