A chief constable has apologised to a rape victim after his force failed to arrest the suspect she had identified.
The victim’s mother described Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as “absolutely incompetent” over its failure to act.
She said her daughter had also suffered because four different detectives had led the investigation.
New GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson admitted the victim, from Rochdale, had been let down by the investigation and said it “simply isn’t good enough”.
The Maggie Oliver Foundation, which helps victims of sexual violence, has told BBC Newsnight it is supporting 15 other women with live cases who feel badly let down by the response they have had from GMP.
Mr Watson denied there was a “systemic failings at the very heart of our process” and said resources had been pumped into a new central Child Sexual Exploitation team.
GMP was recently put in special measures after it failed to investigate 80,000 crimes in a 12-month period.
A serving police officer told Newsnight that he “wouldn’t feel confident reporting a crime to my own police force”.
Mr Watson has promised to take swift and serious action.
The BBC was told the rape victim and her mother Patricia (not her real name) walked into Rochdale police station two years ago to report allegations that a man had groomed and raped her.
Patricia said her daughter had been so desperate that she had twice tried to take her own life.
“We went in and the detective we spoke to already had a pile of papers on his desk and a photograph,” she said.
“He asked us ‘is this the man in question?’ and we said ‘yes’ and he said ‘yeah, we know a lot of stuff about this man’.
“So I just thought ‘brilliant, they already know who he is so it will be dealt with really, really well’.”
However four different officers were put in charge of her case, evidence was misplaced and the attacker has not been brought to justice.
“What this man did has ruined probably the best years of her life,” Patricia said. “He’s caused all that and he’s still out there. He’s not even been arrested.”
Mr Watson admitted to Newsnight: “It’s a level of service which simply isn’t good enough.
“What we have heard is there is an allegation of a very serious offence that needs to be properly investigated.
“Regardless of the complexity of this type of investigation the fact we have people who patently feel let down and they have been passed from pillar to post simply represents the journey we as an organisation have to travel.”
He added: “I will apologise absolutely. This is a family very worried about a vulnerable person put upon in extraordinary circumstances and frankly just not getting service they need from Greater Manchester Police.”