A BBC programme highlighting the work of a major crime unit in securing cold case convictions will cover the investigation into the rape of a 16-year-old boy in Stevenage in 1983.

Showcasing the work of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit (MCU) in securing convictions against offenders of serious sexual offences which occurred up to 50 years ago, two programmes will air on BBC2 tonight and tomorrow (May 20 and 21).

With the advancement of forensic science and DNA intelligence, the MCU began a review in 2016 of all unsolved sexual offences dating back to 1974, under the name Operation Painter.

Since then, the team has secured a 100 per cent success rate at trial, with 10 convictions, and over 5,400 cases have been reviewed across the tri-force.

Detective Superintendent Carl Foster said: "Operation Painter is proof we will do all we can, no matter how many years it may take, to secure justice for victims of evil predators of sexual offences, in this case who thought they had got away with their crimes."

‘Cold Case Investigators: Solving Britain’s Sex Crimes’ covers the investigations into the rape of a 16-year-old boy while walking home in Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage in 1983, the kidnap and rape of a woman in Luton in 1993 by a man who pretended to be a taxi driver, and an attack on three teenage girls as they made their way home in the early 2000s.

Detective Superintendent Foster continued: "The significant trauma and personal consequence of what has happened to each of these victims has remained with them since they were subjected to these truly horrendous crimes.

"The MCU, Scientific Services Unit and forensic providers have delivered exceptional evidential cases to secure justice for victims and will continue this vital work.

"I hope viewers will see our dedication to cold case investigation and be reassured we will thoroughly investigate all sexual offences.

"Becoming a victim of sexual assault is never your fault. If you’ve been a victim, no matter how long ago the offence occurred, please report it.

"We have specialist officers on hand to provide advice and support throughout an investigation. The constabulary also has several officers who are specially trained to provide support to members of the LGBTQ+ community."

You can report information online, speak to an operator in the Force Communications Room via the online web chat or call the non-emergency number 101.

Anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence can contact the Herts Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for practical and emotional support.

The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals, and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them. This service is open to everyone – men, women and young people, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

To contact Herts SARC, call the 24/7 helpline on 0808 178 4448, email Herts.SARC@nhs.net or visit hertssarc.org.

Meanwhile, Beacon is Hertfordshire’s Victim Care Centre and is staffed by professionals from both Hertfordshire Constabulary and Catch 22 - an independent organisation commissioned to support victims of crime in Hertfordshire.

For more information on how to contact Beacon in the strictest confidence, visit hertfordshirebeacon.org.