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CPS publishes latest statistics on all crime types showing steady increase in rape convictions

|News, Sexual offences

Today the CPS has published the Q3 Performance data which covers the three-month period from 1 October to 31 December 2021.

Notable changes in the data from Q2 2021-22 to Q3 2021 – 22 include:

  • A 3.2% increase in police referrals across all crime types, from 48,178 to 49,719
  • A 23.7 per cent increase in pre-charge rape referrals from the police, up from 887 to 1,097 (this includes both cases referred for early advice and requests for charging decisions)
  • A 4.6% increase in the volume of suspects being charged for rape, from 526 to 550 
  • A slight reduction in the proportion of suspects charged (out of all legal decisions) from 69.2% to 66.6%.
  • A 10.2% increase in the volume of rape prosecutions from 600 to 661 
  • A 14.7% increase in the volume of convictions for rape, from 407 to 467
  • A 2.9 percentage point increase in the rape conviction rate from 67.8% to 70.7% 
  • A 4.2% reduction in the volume of completed prosecutions for all crime types, from 107,327 to 102,777
  • A the Crown Court caseload has reduced by a further 2.6% and is now on a downward trajectory, although the number of cases remain 50% higher than pre-COVID.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill, QC said: “We are determined to drive up the number of rape cases going to court and while there is still a long way to go, it is encouraging we are beginning to see progress.

“Together with the police, we are improving every aspect of how these devastating crimes are dealt with. Close joint working from the very start of an investigation means we can build the best possible cases more quickly so more victims see justice. The rise in referrals for advice or charging decisions will lead to more trials and more convictions.”

There has been 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 enquiry and actions to strengthen the evidence.

An ambitious programme of work called 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. 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. 

The statistics also show the time taken to make a decision has decreased slightly, meaning victims and suspects are not having to wait as long to find out whether their case will be taken forward.

Notes to editors

  • Over the past year we have been testing different approaches to drive up the number of cases reaching court through our innovative Operation Soteria pilots. This is an ambitious programme designed to drive reform and improve collaborative working with police in rape and serious sexual offence (RASSO) cases. It focuses on an offender-centric approach as encouraged by our updated legal guidance. Operation Soteria is expanding into 14 police forces and their corresponding CPS areas. We are also appointing 70 extra staff into our specialist Rape and Serious Sexual Offences units in these areas.
  • In February the CPS published an update on our Rape strategy setting out the wide range of actions taken in the last 18 months. 
  • This includes updates on the CPS and police Joint National Action Plan.
  • Early advice to the police is the provision, by prosecutors, of lines of further enquiry, identification of the likely charges and of the evidence required to support them. They will be proactive in identifying, and where possible rectifying, evidential deficiencies. These cases may not necessarily be able to go on for a pre-charge decision.
  • Pre-charge decision requests are where a case is brought forward by the police to CPS for the prosecutor to make a decision on charging. Further material may be required to make that charging decision and CPS will advise the police on this which may require the development of Action Plans.
  • In future data publications, we will be able to more accurately measure the impact of our work by separating out referrals for early advice and referrals for a charging decision. This is aiming to be ready for Q1 of 22/23.

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