A major review has concluded Crown Prosecutors are not to blame for falling number of rape cases
Prosecutors are not to blame for the “woefully low” number of rape cases being put before the courts, a major review has concluded, as a watchdog suggested the fault may lie with the police. The Attorney General ordered an urgent inspection to investigate why rape trials had dropped by 52 per cent despite the number of complaints to police soaring by 43 per cent during the same period but a review carried out by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Inspectorate (HMCPSI) said there was no evidence to support that suggestion.
The report instead concluded that rape was a complex crime and appeared to suggest the problem lay with the police rather than prosecutors for failing to build solid cases. Chief Inspector Kevin McGinty said: “The CPS has been accused of only choosing easy cases to prosecute, but we found no evidence of that in our report.”
“While the CPS needs to improve the way it works with the police, the CPS is only a small part of a larger systemic problem in the criminal justice process in dealing with complex cases.”
Deputy Chief Constable Sarah Crew, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s work on rape, said work was already being carried out to address problems raised in the report. She added: “Policing has been under huge strain in recent years, with rising crime and more complex investigations mismatched against our resources. The shortage of detectives, the large increase in digital evidence and tackling disclosure challenges have all impacted on the number of cases referred to the CPS and the time taken to investigate and prepare these”
In the year to March 2019 the number of rapes recorded by the police was 58,657, but just 3,375 of those were referred on to the CPS.