Police have apologised for publishing a poem about rape which featured lines such as "she wanted it, she's a s***".

Nottinghamshire police authored the poem as a warning against sexual assaults during the Christmas period.

It was based loosely on the festive rhyme The Night Before Christmas but focused on the consequences of rape

Instead of being about Father Christmas delivering presents to a home, the lines told the story of a woman being attacked and her rapist revelling in what he had done.

The work was attacked by women's groups for "trivialising" the issue of sexual violence. Cathy Saunders of Midlands Women's Aid said she was "appalled."

Among the lines penned by officers were "visions of the rape he committed danced through his head," juxtaposed with couplets such as "Until she stumbled in, a mess, all lipstick and hair / She had been attacked but wasn't sure how or where."

Notts Police initially denied its 'Nightmare before Christmas' was in bad taste, but today climbed down by issuing an apology for the offensive paean.

Nottinghamshire Police apologise for \'Nightmare Before Christmas\' poem about rape
Nottinghamshire Police apologise for \'Nightmare Before Christmas\' poem about rape Notts Police

Chief Constable Chris Eyre said: "If anyone was caused offence I apologise – but if one less woman suffers abuse then it will have been worthwhile. It's about putting the message out there.

"It's a message I see all too often when I wake in the morning and look at my (police issue) Blackberry and see reports coming in from officers of another woman who has been violated."

According to a police spokeswoman, the object of the poem had been to focus on the perpetrators of sexual assaults and "cause a stir."

But other groups for victims said the poem failed to go far enough by not focusing the "life changing and very long lasting" effects of rape, according to the Sexual Abuse Survivors Network.