CPS publishes prosecution data for first quarter of 2021/22
The Crown Prosecution Service has today published its prosecution data covering the first quarter of 2021/22.
The statistics, which run from 1 April to 30 June, show completed prosecutions are now similar to pre-pandemic levels – with 109,685 cases finalised this quarter, compared to 107,497 in the last three months before the pandemic.
Live prosecution caseloads by the end of June stood at 157,003 – down from a high of nearly 185,000 in August 2020 but considerably up on 109,469 outstanding cases in March 2020.
The decrease is mainly driven by a reduction in magistrates’ court cases, with the number of outstanding Crown Court cases rising to 70,011 on 30 June.
Completed rape prosecutions have almost doubled compared to this period last year, when courts were hugely impacted by Covid-19. They have also increased by more than 25 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019-20, immediately prior to the pandemic.
The proportion of decisions in rape cases resulting in a charge has reached a high of 69 per cent. While the number of rape suspects charged between April and June fell slightly on the previous quarter, the overall total has increased by 2.1 per cent on an annualised basis.
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “We are continuing to see steady progress in reducing our live caseload, primarily driven by more completed prosecutions in magistrates’ court, which reflects the tireless efforts of our staff through this most difficult period.
“However, we recognise the scale of the challenge in Crown Courts and are working closely with partners across the criminal justice system to safely reduce the number of outstanding cases.
“We are also continuing our extensive efforts to improve every aspect of how we handle offences of violence against women and girls and close the unacceptable gap between reported incidents and cases reaching court.
“Our commitment to reversing the stark decline in rape prosecutions remains unwavering and we are increasing resources for our specialist units so they are equipped to deal with more cases, more quickly.
“There is still a long way to go, but we are determined that more perpetrators of these devastating crimes will be brought to justice.”
The CPS has been testing different approaches across the country to drive up the number of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) prosecutions and is working with the police and government under Operation Soteria to achieve lasting change in how we respond to these cases.
Earlier this year, along with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, we published a Joint National Action Plan, which sets a wide-ranging programme for greater collaboration to improve the response to RASSO.
This includes a renewed focus on support for victims, with a new minimum standard published to enhance our partnership with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, and closer collaboration with police from the outset of a rape investigation through initiatives such as our Early Advice Memorandum of Understanding.
We have also updated our RASSO legal guidance to challenge emerging rape myths and stereotypes in an age of changing sexual behaviours and reflect the latest insights into the impact of trauma on victims.
The CPS is also in the process of updating its training, policies and guidance for domestic abuse offences.