POLICE chiefs have finally started paying compensation to victims of a sex attacker who abused his job as a Pc to abuse vulnerable women.
Northumbria Police has paid out £31,500 to some of the women attacked by pervert Stephen Mitchell.
However, it is believed the final bill for the force could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds as other victims have vowed to take their cases to court.
And campaigners have called for the force not to try to get away with paying victims as little as possible.
It is now three years since Mitchell was arrested and accused of preying on women and teenage drug addicts he arrested while working in Newcastle city centre.
The force was heavily criticised for having allowed Mitchell to remain in the force despite being warned that he was a sexual predator.
Mitchell, pictured, protested his innocence and 16 women were forced to give evidence at Newcastle Crown Court before he was convicted of two rapes and three indecent assaults in 2010.
The 42-year-old, formerly of Whitley Bay, was jailed for life.
His victims have struggled to get their hands on any compensation since seeing justice done in court, however.
Some made claims to the government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority but were told they would not be entitled to payouts because they have criminal records.
Now, a request made under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act has revealed the force has been in negotiations with ten women seeking compensation.
The force declined to reveal how the £31,500 has been divided and whether those are final settlements or just interim payments.
One of his victims said: “I personally have not received a penny as yet.
“I plan to take my case to court, and I would urge other victims not to be fobbed off with a few pounds just to go away.
“My fear is that because some of these women and girls were vulnerable and addicted to drugs, they may be tempted by such an offer.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Stephen Mitchell was convicted of horrendous crimes, and we unreservedly apologise to his victims.
“Each claim is dealt with individually, and the length of time it takes to progress can be dependent on the information that is required to reach a settlement.
“In all claims that we have received, the claimants have instructed a solicitor to deal with the matter, and we respond to them accordingly.
“We ensure settlements are thoroughly assessed and reached as soon as possible.”