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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 Q4 performance data which covers the three-month period from 1 January to 31 March 2022.

Notable changes in the data from Q3 2021-22 to Q4 2021-22 include:

  • a 2.6 per cent increase in the volume of police referrals across all crime types, from 49,719 in Q3 to 51,003 in Q4 21/22
  • a 7.7 per cent per cent increase in pre-charge rape referrals from the police, up from 1,097 to 1,182 (this includes both cases referred for early advice and requests for charging decisions)
  • the volume of suspects being charged for rape this quarter rose from 550 to 643, a 16.9 per cent increase 
  • the volume of completed rape prosecutions this quarter increased from 661 to 675, a 2.1 per cent increase
  • overall, a 62.9 per cent increase in the volume of rape prosecutions from 1,557 in 2020-21 to 2,537 in 2021-2022
  • a 2.4 percentage point reduction in the conviction rate for rape cases from 70.7 per cent to 68.3 per cent.
  • a 1.4 percentage point increase in the-all crime types conviction rate from 81.9 per cent to 83.3 per cent
  • a 1.8 percentage point increase in domestic abuse conviction rate from 76 per cent to 77.8 per cent 
  • a 4.1 per cent increase in the volume of completed prosecutions for all crime types, from 102,777 to 107,035
  • the Crown Court caseload has reduced by 0.5 per cent.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill, QC and Chief Constable Sarah Crew, National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Rape and Adult Sexual Offences said: “Rape is a devastating offence, and we are committed to improving every aspect of how these life-changing crimes are dealt with.

“Close joint working from the very start of an investigation means we can build the best possible cases more quickly. With police going to the CPS earlier in the process and more often, the rise in charging decisions will lead to more trials and more convictions.

“Early advice in these cases has been key in helping us use our joint resources more effectively and narrow the gap between the number of offences reported to the police and cases going to court.

“Working effectively together we have the potential to be so much more than the sum of our parts. We remain positive about the progress that is being made but recognise there is still a long way to go so more victims come forward and report with confidence.”

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.

It is already in action in five police force areas and work is ongoing to roll it out to a further 14 forces with the aim of this being complete by March 2023.

Op Soteria drives 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.

The Operation Soteria pathfinder projects will give clear evidence of which approaches have the biggest impact. We will evaluate good practice then work with police forces to roll them out across England and Wales ahead of a new national operating model from June 2023.

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.

Notes to editors

  • The CPS Q4 2021-2022 performance data is available on this website
  • Police and CPS are currently working on the refresh of the Joint National Action Plan and will be publishing an update in September 2022
  • In February the CPS published an updated Rape Strategy setting out the wide range of actions taken in the last 18 months.  

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