Police and prosecutors accused of 'shutting door' on concerns over rape victims' phone handover policy

Police chiefs and prosecutors have been accused of “shutting the door” on concerns over plans to make rape victim handover their phones, after a meeting with campaigners was cancelled with three hours notice.

The National Police Chiefs Council and Crown Prosecution Service were due to meet with charities including the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) on Friday over a controversial policy that could see rape victims told their cases could be dropped if they refuse to give up their phones for investigation.

However, the meeting on Friday was pulled after police and the CPS received a letter giving notice that the CWJ is preparing a legal challenge against the policy. The charities were later asked to submit their concerns in writing.

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, one of the charities due to attend, said: “There is a massive failure within our justice system and yet it seems the very people who are supposed to protect it are not willing to listen. We've told them our concerns before and we were prepared to explain them again today, but the doors have been shut in our faces."

The police and CPS came under heavy criticism in April when it emerged rape victims will be asked to sign consent forms allowing officers to access messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts in a bid to make it easier to identify crucial evidence.

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