Expert: Police poor at determining false sex crime reports

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The Dutch police are not good at distinguishing between real and fake sex crime reports, according to a study by the University of Maastricht and the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Researcher Andre De Zutter called the police assessment of a sex crime report "guesswork", the Volkskrant reports.

For this study the researchers showed a number of sex crime reports, of which some were demonstrably real and some proved to be fake, to 20 sex crime detectives, students at the Police Academy and random students from Maastricht. They were asked to assess whether the reports are real or fake. All three groups got the same result - they judged half of the cases correctly.

"You might as well flip a coin if you want to say something about the outcome", De Zutter said to the Volkskrant. "That is worrisome. Eventually a case is assessed on the basis of the entire investigation file, but a report is an important start." He adds that "you can not really blame the sex crime detectives, the training they receive at the Police Academy has no scientific basis."

The researchers also note that their study was a small one and that the results may be different in a study involving more detectives. According to them, they received little cooperation from the police.

The Police Academy told the Volkskrant that they do not know about this study.