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Chiefs respond to 2017/18 rape case outcome data by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary

29 Aug 2019

HMICFRS and the multi-agency Rape Monitoring Group (RMG) have published data showing how cases of rape were dealt with at all stages of the criminal justice system in 2017/18. The data covers every police force in England and Wales.

The data shows reporting of rape to police increasing, whilst charge rates have fallen in the same period.

Commenting on the newly released figures, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Adult Sexual Offences and Rape, DCC Sarah Crew said:

Rape and sexual assault cases are some of the most complex crimes that police deal with. We’ve made it easier for victims to report in the way they feel most comfortable. Many more victims now have the confidence to come forward and report their experiences to us, in addition to receiving crucial access to support services.

However, everyone with a role in investigating and prosecuting these crimes acknowledges there is more to be done in increasing the number of cases brought before the courts.

We are fully engaging in a cross-Government review assessing the full criminal justice process experienced by rape victims. In this forum we are working with our partners to better understand and address the problems identified. In particular, the review will be looking at why complainants disengage with the criminal justice process, why referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service from police have fallen, why the number of CPS charges have dropped in recent years, and why convictions at court are at their lowest.

In parallel to the Criminal Justice Review, we are continuing to work with victim support groups and services to understand new trends, evidential challenges and what deters people from reporting. We hope that through this work, we can continue to improve outcomes, build confidence in the criminal justice system, and have the best support in place to help victims cope and recover.

Police forces have seen a real terms reduction in funding since 2010 with fewer officers and staff at a time of increased demand from the public. At the same time, we have seen a substantial increase in both the volume of cases and their complexity, as well as the amount of digital evidence that has to be examined as part of any investigation before being passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service.