Plans to require rape victims to hand over their phones to police if they want their claims investigated have been met with a far from positive response. Campaigners branded the demand “a public relations disaster in the criminal justice system” and said victims would be discouraged from reporting allegations. The new policy, which is also the subject of an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office, has seen consent forms allowing officers to access messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts being rolled out across the country in a bid to make it easier to identify and handle crucial evidence. Victims will be given the opportunity to decline but will be warned their case may not be pursued if they do not hand their phone over. One rape victim said the policy is invasive, puts victims on trial and is almost like being raped again, but Liam Allan, whose trial for rape collapsed when it emerged texts had not bee n disclosed, said yesterday that alleged attackers “deserve the same rights until the point of conviction”.