RAPE victims are being told they must hand their mobiles to cops or risk their suspected attacker dodging prosecution.
Consent forms allowing officers to access messages, photos, emails and social media have been introduced at all 43 forces in England and Wales.
Rape victims are being told to hand their mobile to police or their attackers could avoid prosecution[/caption]
Prosecutors say phones will be looked at only for a “reasonable line of inquiry”.
But Big Brother Watch likened it to it “digital strip searches” and said “treating rape victims like suspects” could deter people from reporting crimes.
The change follows a string of rape and sex assault cases collapsing when crucial evidence emerged at the last minute.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said the forms are just part of the problem as police and prosecutors look to harvest third party material, such as school records and medical notes.
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“The police are really saying, ‘if you don’t let us do this, the CPS won’t prosecute,’” she said.
“It is a real concern that people will be put off making a complaint in the first place if it’s widely thought they are going to have to hand over lots of personal data – everyone lives on their phones, particularly teenagers.”
Griff Ferris, legal and policy officer at Big Brother Watch, said urgent reform is needed so victims do not “have to choose between their privacy and justice”.
The move has sparked fears that victims may be put off going to the police[/caption]
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