Brå assesses that the organisational model with a specialised rape unit has worked well in the police district of North Stockholm. The Sexual Crimes Group process their cases more rapidly and their investigations are of a higher quality than was previously the case. The proportion of cases assessed to be over-investigated has increased somewhat but is still small (6 percent of the cases examined).
Brå can see several advantages of specialisation: The investigators are motivated and the group builds up competence and effective procedures, and the same investigator is responsible for a case from start to finish. This guarantees investigative work of a consistently high quality.
The fact that the Sexual Crimes Group only investigates rape cases also means that time and energy is ring-fenced for these crimes, i.e. a real increase in resources compared with previously. Additionally, resources have increased since the group was introduced and more investigators have been employed. Brå assesses that the improvements in quality and speed are also due to the increase in resources and not solely due to specialisation.
The proportion of cases finally reported to the prosecution office has increased somewhat but not much more than in similar police districts. There is still some scope for improvement but Brå considers that a marked increase in the proportion of cases finally reaching prosecutors cannot be expected considering the nature of the cases and because there are factors that impact on outcomes which are difficult for the investigating unit to influence.
Brå considers that legal rights for victims in rape cases have improved since the introduction of the Sexual Crimes Group, above all through more robust investigations. Certain quality aspects are also positive for suspects, including better documentation and investigations being conducted more quickly. However, defence counsels and prosecutors see a risk of shortcomings in objectivity which could be negative for suspects. Brå considers that the risk of a loss of objectivity should continue to be borne in mind.
Thus, specialisation has worked well in North Stockholm, but it cannot be taken as an indication that this is an organisational model which would suit all police districts. Local conditions must decide where rape cases are investigated in organisational terms. However, some lessons learned from the development efforts in North Stockholm should be able to be transferred to districts where a specialised group cannot be introduced or where different organisational models are chosen.