CPS data shows steady increase in rape convictions
The latest quarterly performance statistics published by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) show a steady increase in the number of rape convictions.
The Q4 performance datah covers the three-month period from January 1 to March 31, 2022. During that time:
- There has been a 7.7 per cent per cent increase in pre-charge rape referrals from the police, up from 1,097 to 1,182 (this includes both cases referred for early advice and requests for charging decisions);
- The volume of suspects being charged for rape rose from 550 to 643, a 16.9 per cent increase; and
- The volume of completed rape prosecutions this quarter increased from 661 to 675, a 2.1 per cent increase.
In a joint statement, Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill, QC and Chief Constable Sarah Crew, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for rape and adult sexual offences, said: “Rape is a devastating offence, and we are committed to improving every aspect of how these life-changing crimes are dealt with.
“Close joint working from the very start of an investigation means we can build the best possible cases more quickly. With police going to the CPS earlier in the process and more often, the rise in charging decisions will lead to more trials and more convictions.
“Early advice in these cases has been key in helping us use our joint resources more effectively and narrow the gap between the number of offences reported to the police and cases going to court.
“Working effectively together we have the potential to be so much more than the sum of our parts. We remain positive about the progress that is being made but recognise there is still a long way to go so more victims come forward and report with confidence.”
Operation Soteria is testing new ways of working to transform how the CPS and police handle rape investigations and prosecutions, centring on the conduct of the suspect as opposed to the victim.
It is already in action in five police force areas and work is ongoing to roll it out to a further 14 forces with the aim of this being complete by March 2023.
Operation Soteria drives a strong focus on closer joint working between the police and prosecution teams across the country to drive up the number of successful prosecutions. A wide-ranging plan of action is underway to improve this crucial relationship, working together closely from the very start of an investigation to advise on lines of inquiry and actions to strengthen the evidence.
A statement issued by the CPS said: “The Operation Soteria pathfinder projects will give clear evidence of which approaches have the biggest impact. We will evaluate good practice then work with police forces to roll them out across England and Wales ahead of a new national operating model from June 2023.
“A key shift has been a move to increase early advice where police can consult a prosecutor on investigative strategy from the beginning to talk through the evidence needed to build and strengthen the case. While the data cannot yet be broken down, it is expected that the increase in referrals from the police will reflect increasing take up of early advice as well as requests for charging decisions.”