CPS Thames and Chiltern initiatives see a significant rise in rape charges
Successful initiatives in CPS Thames and Chiltern have seen a significant rise in rape cases being charged.
CPS Thames and Chiltern have seen their charge rate for rape cases increase from 60.5% in 2018-19 to 77.5% in 2019-20. This increase is a result of initiatives that the area has launched to improve file quality and relationships with their respective police forces.
Thames and Chiltern have embedded detective inspectors from the three police forces that they work with who review cases before they are submitted for pre-charge advice, so they can give police colleagues a practical understanding of what is needed for a file of evidence to be suitable for consideration.
This is essential for good file quality and effective and timely decision-making, providing a high-quality service to victims and witnesses by keeping them better informed and engaged. The work with the embedded detective inspectors enables a better understanding of how to overcome obstacles in building cases to charge effectively.
As part of this, Thames and Chiltern is rolling out a joint training programme with the police to ensure good practice and understanding is reinforced on key areas of early investigative advice, reasonable lines of enquiry, third party material, digital communications, social media material, disclosure, and file quality.
CPS Thames and Chiltern is also piloting a collaborative tracker with one police force they work with to provide joint oversight of all the rape and serious sexual offences cases to make sure they’re on top of older cases and files which are waiting for more information. Using this tracker, the CPS and police have full oversight of investigations and cases to help understand any common issues or themes, which ensures effective and efficient progression.
On top of this pioneering work, CPS Thames and Chiltern has also made sure there are regular internal meetings to review cases still waiting for a decision and joint meetings with the police from the start on sensitive, high profile or old investigation cases.
With focused efforts on joint working between police and the CPS, the charging rate for rape prosecutions has improved and the area continue to focus on how to make further improvements to make sure offenders of sexual violence are brought to justice.