Port case prompts special police training on gay chemsex crime

Scotland Yard has adopted measures to increase knowledge of chemsex crime in the gay community after the police watchdog launched an investigation into “missed opportunities” to catch the serial killer Stephen Port.

In the wake of Port’s conviction, frontline officers were undergoing special training to deal with rape and sex crimes against males.

The measures were announced on Friday as the family of Jack Taylor, Port’s final victim, claimed their concerns over the initial investigation went unheeded because he had been dismissed as “a gay and a druggie and that was it”.

Port, 41, was given a whole life sentence without release for the murders of four gay men: Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Taylor, 25. Port had surreptitiously given them fatal doses of the drug GHB to satisfy his fetish for sex with drugged, unconscious boyish-looking males.

Stephen Port’s victims (L to R): Daniel Whitworth, 21, Jack Taylor, 25, Anthony Walgate, 23, and Gabriel Kovari, 22.

Stephen Port’s victims (L to R): Daniel Whitworth, 21, Jack Taylor, 25, Anthony Walgate, 23, and Gabriel Kovari, 22. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA

Cdr Stuart Cundy, of the Met’s specialist crime and operations command, said the measures were “to enhance the knowledge and understanding of our officers about drugs-facilitated sexual assault, or sexual assault following chemsex”.

Frontline and specialist officers who investigated these offences were being trained with the help of the anti-violence charity Galop and other LGBT organisations. A toolkit and a checklist document had been created to provide guidance for officers on how best to respond to allegations.

A pilot study was launched by the Met in September to increase knowledge of the kind of drugs used to facilitate the sexual assault of men, Cundy said. Victims were being asked to provide a urine sample to test for GHB – also known as G or liquid ecstasy – which is the drug most commonly used in such cases.

As part of the study, tests for GHB were also being carried out on males who had died and there was evidence of sexual assault or the death was unexplained, he said.

The Met has already announced it is reviewing the deaths from GHB poisoning of 58 people in London over the last four years as a result of the Port case.

An anaesthetic, GHB is popular on the dance and club scene. At low doses, it is reported to produce euphoria, lowering social inhibition and increasing libido. At higher doses, euphoria gives way to sedation. Still larger doses can induce coma. In some cases, death can arise as a result of respiratory depression or the inhalation of vomit.

Stephen Port is ‘sick, twisted scumbag’, says murder victim’s family – video

The Met has faced criticism in the past over its handling of the murders of members of the LGBT community. In 2007, a review of 10 murders of gay men or transgender people said in some cases police inquiries were hampered by a lack of knowledge, reliance on unfounded stereotypes and personal prejudices.

The report, written by the independent Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender advisory group, did acknowledge the force had substantially improved its dealings with the communities, but said more radical steps were needed.

Investigations of high-profile cases to have attracted criticism in the past include those of the serial killers Dennis Nilsen, Michael Lupo and Colin Ireland.