Early discussions with police in London are helping to increase charges for rape cases
Prosecutors in London have been working closely with police in a collective effort to improve prosecution volumes for rape and serious sexual offences.
The CPS and the Metropolitan police have committed to an action plan, which is designed to boost the number of rape and serious sexual offences referred to the CPS by improving file quality, building strong cases and offering a better understanding of how decisions are made.
Central to the joint plan has been the use of regular surgeries to discuss early investigative advice on rape and serious sexual offences, which have improved relationships between the police and prosecutors in London.
Better communication between the CPS and police on reasonable lines of enquiry, mobile phone evidence and challenging myths and stereotypes around these offences is helping to increase timeliness and the number of cases referred to the CPS for a formal decision.
Lynette Woodrow, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for London South, said: “We are working hard, together with others, to narrow the gap between the number of rape and serious sexual offences reported and cases going to court.
“The changes we’ve made with the police has resulted in an increase in the number of cases referred to us for a charging decision, and we are confident that our joint working will bring the improvements that victims of these devastating crimes deserve. Our expert prosecutors remain dedicated to seeing justice achieved in every case.”
In London there has been a focus on training around the threshold test, reasonable lines of enquiry and early investigative, in an effort to remove barriers that could delay a charging decision.
Rape and serious sexual offences are very complex crimes which is why the specialist team in London has also been working with a local Sexual Assault Referral Centre to maximise the use of medical and forensic evidence in these cases, to improve the experience for victims.
Lisa Ramsarran, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for London North, added: “This collective effort to improve communication between the police and prosecutors and increase understanding of the enquiries that need to be completed before a decision can be made has already started to make a positive difference - and we are committed to carrying on this trend in London.”