MPS ‘doesn’t fully understand’ spike in rape reports

Britain’s largest force has admitted it does not understand the reasons behind an almost 20 per cent rise in rapes offences.

Feb 26, 2018
By Adam Button

Increased victim confidence alone fails to explain the rapid growth in rape reports made to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), according to Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey.

Figures from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) show 7,613 rapes were reported in the 12 months to January, up from 6,392 the previous year.

MOPAC plans to examine why sexual offending is on the rise but was unable to promise results by the end of 2018.

Asked by the London Assembly whether he understands what had caused the increase in rape reports, Mr Mackey replied: “No, is the honest answer.

“It’s simply not as simple as saying this is increased confidence. Of course, that plays a part, but there is something going on with sexual offending in London that we don’t fully understand.

“We see the end of it, but we don’t understand the causes.”

The MOPAC figures show overall sexual offending in London rose eight per cent in 2017/18, bringing the total to almost 20,000.

London Assembly member Susan Hall, who raised the issue at a meeting last week, claimed past increases have been attributed to growing victim confidence to report crimes.

However, she told the panel this “cannot explain a jump of almost 20 per cent in just a year”, and urged the MPS to explore the reasons behind the increase.

To improve its response, the MPS has commissioned first response training with all frontline officers taking part in a specialist course on domestic abuse.

This covers new legislation and protection orders, victim care and how to target offenders.

MOPAC has also committed to research the underlying causes of sexual offending and an evidence and insight team has been commissioned to carry out this work.

However, Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said she could not guarantee this work would begin by the end of the year.

Ms Hall described this admission as “disappointing”.

Ms Linden said: “You’d like to think that women are much more confident to come forward.

“However, what I am also concerned about is that underlying that, there may be an increase in actual sexual violence in rape and offending, and that’s the thing we need to get to the bottom of.”

A MPS spokesperson said: “The Met recognises that around 85 per cent of rape allegations involve parties already known to one another, with individuals experiencing domestic abuse often at higher risk of rape or sexual offences.

“Therefore, we also take part in awareness-raising campaigns such as It’s Not Ok to combat myths about sexual offences which may discourage people from coming forward and reporting their experiences.”

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