New high tech van to help victims of rape and sexual assault in North Yorkshire
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Last updated Aug 2, 2022
Detective Superintendent Jon Naughton shows Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe the new forensic van.

North Yorkshire Police has bought a new digital van to improve how the police service responds to rape or serious sexual offences.

The van is a mobile digital forensic laboratory containing all of the latest equipment and software that the force said it needs to perform phone and computer digital examinations at a scene.

It means officers can examine a range of devices at the earliest opportunity at any location and, when appropriate, return them immediately.

The van is unmarked which means it can visit a victim’s home or a crime scene discreetly.

The force said its main objective was to deliver a faster, safer and more sensitive service for those affected by rape, and sexual assault and to increase confidence in the criminal justice system.


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The van’s purchase is in response to the findings of the government’s Rape Response Review and it’s hoped will help the force meet Government targets around rapid victim mobile phone examination.

Assistant chief constable Lindsey Butterfield said:

“The new digital forensics van is a huge asset to the force as it will help us provide an enhanced service to victims of rape and serious sexual assault.

“We recognise that we must do everything we possibly can to support and protect victims at the most distressing time of their lives, and we are confident this new mobile technology will help us do that.  Ultimately, it will also help us deliver our strategy around the prevention of violence against women and girls.

“The use of this van will also strengthen our opportunity to gather valuable evidence and hopefully increase public confidence in the police’s ability to deal with vulnerable victims in the most sensitive way possible.”

Zoë Metcalfe, police, fire and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, added:

“We must ensure we do all we can to support victims of rape and serious sexual assault, while at the same time ensuring we collect the evidence needed to make sure these crimes can be properly investigated.

“These new digital tools are an important part of that, making it easier and quicker for police to collect evidence and making the process less intrusive for those who have been attacked at the most traumatic of times.

“Victims need to feel they will be taken seriously and can achieve justice if they report these crimes, and I will be making sure that happens in North Yorkshire and York.”


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