Crime Stats

Number of rape cases sent to prosecutors falls to lowest level in five years amid fears officers are trying to ‘cut corners’
In last financial year, 5,404 rape cases sent by police to prosecutors
This is more than 2,700 less than the figures for 2010-11
Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry suggests police forces under pressure from budget cuts may be ‘cutting corners’
According to charity Rape Crisis, the figure comes despite the fact historic rape allegations are at uniquely high level following Jimmy Savile scandal
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED:20:09, 27 October 2013| UPDATED:12:02, 28 October 2013
Figures showing a drop in the number of rape cases referred to the CPS by police were obtained by shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry
The number of rape cases being referred to prosecutors by police is at its lowest level in five years.
The figures have prompted fears that adult victims in historic abuse cases are not being taken seriously as officers ‘cut corners’.
Police forces in the last financial year sent 5,404 rape cases to the Crown Prosecution Service – over 2,700 fewer than in 2010-11.
The drop-off came despite a steady increase in the number of rapes reported to the police in England and Wales over the past five years, from 13,096 in 2008-9 to 17,061 in 2012-13.
This drop-off has come despite a steady increase in the number of rapes reported to the police in England and Wales between 2008 and 2013.
Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry has voiced her concerns that officers under pressure following budget cuts may be ‘cutting corners’.
Ms Thornberry, who uncovered the figures using a written parliamentary question, claimed she had been in contact with rape victims’ charities who said cases were being dropped that could have been sent to the CPS.
‘I think on the face of it this is a very worrying trend,’ she said.
‘The CPS is doing a lot of work on trying to improve the way in which they prosecute these cases and that is to be applauded but if they are not being given the cases to prosecute you have to ask why that is.
‘I don’t know the answer to that. I do though know the police have been subjected to 20 per cent cuts and they are difficult cases to prosecute with vulnerable prosecution witnesses that take a lot of time.
‘I’m seriously concerned that there may be corners being cut.’
She added: ‘The police are under huge pressure to produce results, to get convictions. Targeting cases that are easier to get convictions on, I can understand that. I don’t know whether that is the case or not but I worry that it may be.
‘I’m obviously in close contact with a lot of organisations that help victims and their view is that cases are being dropped that shouldn’t be dropped.
‘There is no further action, they are taking the decision in the wrong way too often.
‘I think that the difficulty is that these cases are hard and you have to have focus and they need resources and they need to be priorities. At a time of stress and strain and cutbacks it is very easy to lose site of the importance of these cases.’
The charity Rape Crisis expressed fears the police may not be taking victims of so-called historic abuse cases seriously at a time when public understanding of sexual violence and the number of victims coming forward is at a uniquely high level following the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal and subsequent police investigations.

Rape Crisis claimed the number of victims of historic abuse coming forward is at a uniquely high level following the Jimmy Savile scandal and subsequent police investigations
Katie Russell, of Rape Crisis, said what appears to be a decrease in justice for rape victims was ‘counter-intuitive’ and undermined efforts by police forces to improve their handling of such cases.
She said: ‘We are certainly across the country seeing anecdotally a rise in particularly survivors of what is sometimes referred to as historic abuse coming forward, either to the police or to support agencies like Rape Crisis.
‘If that’s translating into reduced referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service obviously our fear would be that so-called historical cases and particularly cases where adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse come forward are not being handled as well or sufficiently or taken as seriously as they might be.
‘It seems really obtuse at this current moment which is almost unique arguably in terms of how much public awareness and understanding of sexual violence has been generated over the last year by media coverage of the Savile scandal and the subsequent Yewtree investigation and other similar cases.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker admitted he was concerned by the fall in number of referrals
‘It would seem quite counter-intuitive that that period coincides with what essentially, certainly seems at first-glance a reduction in the levels of criminal justice for survivors so it is certainly a concern.’
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker admitted he was concerned by the fall in number of CPS referrals.
He said the Government had already met with the Director of Public Prosecutions and police leaders and agreed to establish a CPS-police scrutiny panel to look at how forces are dealing with rape cases.
Mr Baker said: ‘Police reform is working and crime is down. However, I am determined to drive through the government’s commitments to improve the criminal justice system’s response to rape, to encourage more victims to seek help and to bring more perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice and to push up level of convictions.
‘The government is concerned by the falls in referrals from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service, which is why we held a round-table with the director of public prosecutions and national policing leads.
‘A number of actions are now being taken forward including establishing a joint CPS-police scrutiny panel to review whether there is different local practice in the way rape cases are referred.
‘I take this area of work very seriously.’
The total number of rape-flagged cases referred to the CPS by police forces in England and Wales for a charging decision in each of the last five years is as follows:
2008-9 – 6,597 cases referred.
2009-10 – 7,683 cases referred.
2010-11 – 8,130 cases referred.
2011-12 – 6,822 cases referred.
2012-13 – 5,404 cases referred.
The CPS figures were released by Solicitor General Oliver Heald in response to a parliamentary question from shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry.
The steady decrease since 2011 comes despite the number of rape complaints recorded by the police increasing steadily from 13,096 in 2008-9 to 17,061 in 2012-13.

London cab sex attacks ‘increase by 54%’

Londoners are being warned of the dangers of using illegal minicabs as figures show a 54% increase in cab-related sex attacks in the past year.

In 2009/2010 143 such offences were reported to police compared with 93 for the previous year.

Overall cab-related sexual offences have fallen 20% since the city’s Safer Travel at Night campaign began in 2002.
New female students in particular are being told not to use taxis that have not been booked.

“These figures are a stark reminder of the dangers of getting into an unbooked minicab”

– Kulveer Ranger, mayor’s transport advisor

Transport for London started the Safer Travel at Night campaign eight years ago in an attempt to drive down the number of people attacked by illegal minicab drivers.

Figures for cab-related sex assaults, which include black cabs, reached an all-time low of 93 in 2008/2009.

A dedicated team set up last year to deal with these offences has so far resulted in more than 100 arrests.

Kulveer Ranger, the mayor’s Transport Advisor, said: “These figures are a stark reminder of the dangers of getting into an unbooked minicab.

“I urge Londoners, particularly female passengers and especially those students flocking to the capital to study, to please ensure they only ever get into a booked minicab.”

Minicabs should only be booked through a licensed operator and when the vehicle arrives passengers should ask the driver to confirm their details before getting in.

Only black cabs can be stopped and picked up off the street without being booked.

Using a minicab that is not booked through a licensed operator is illegal.

Booking a taxi ensures a record of the journey, driver and vehicle is kept and can be accessed if necessary.