001/HMCIHMCPSIreport

Chief welcomes rape report recommendations

28/02/2012

One of the region's top prosecutors has welcomed a report from HM Inspectorates of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service (HMIC and HMCPSI) which highlights the need for improvements in rape cases.

Paul Whittaker CBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, supports the report's recommendations, which call for closer working between prosecutors and investigators in all rape investigations and better use of intelligence.

He said: "Rape is a terrible crime which has a devasting effect on victims. Justice agencies are getting better at managing rape cases and at being sensitive and supportive to victims which is evident in this report.  However there is still more to do, which is why I welcome this report which shows how we can improve further."

Mr Whittaker points to the innovative Unity Teams set up in Merseyside and Cheshire -  joint police and CPS units which brings together investigators and specialist rape prosecutors into one team and where intelligence informs our approach.

"The Unity Teams manage rape and serious sexual assault cases from across Merseyside and Cheshire and are based at police offices in both Liverpool, Merseyside, and Winsford, Cheshire," he said

"We've assigned four specialist rape prosecutors and expert support staff solely to these teams. They work with police investigation teams from the moment an offence is reported.

"The expertise of the prosecution team through Unity means that we can provide advice and assistance in investigations and we can work together with the two police forces to ensure we build the strongest possible cases against an offender and provide the best support to victims."

At a national level the CPS is working to address the report's calls for better use of intelligence particularly the use of third party information to develop stronger prosecution cases and is committed to finding a more efficient way of identifying material that could be used for bad character or hearsay applications, an outcome the CPS would welcome and will explore with the police.

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For more information contact Sharon King, area communications manager, on 0151 239 6465.

The report Forging the links:: Rape investigation and prosecution can be viewed at www.hmic.gov.uk