National policing leads outline the police response to rape

PUBLISHED February 3, 2014

National policing leads for adult sex offences Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, for child sexual abuse Chief Constable Simon Bailey and crime recording Chief Constable Jeff Farrar welcome publication of these datasets as they will allow robust and well informed discussions at a local level.

DAC Martin Hewitt, a member of the Rape Monitoring Group said:

"Rape is one of the most serious and challenging crimes that we have to deal with, and I am determined that all those involved are working from a position of having the best possible understanding of what is a complex investigative process.

"That work is undertaken with an absolute focus on the needs of the victim, and we have seen tangible improvements in both practice, and in the results that we are achieving. More victims than ever have the confidence to come forward and report, and more than ever are achieving justice in the courts. We are also improving the professionalism of both victim care and investigation, and working ever more closely with statutory partners such as the Crown Prosecution Service and medical professionals, and with those voluntary groups that support survivors.

"But much remains to be done. It is still a cause of concern to me that all the research tells us that only about 20 per cent of those who are raped or sexually assaulted report it to the police. This means that we are working from an incomplete picture of the offending and the majority of victims have no opportunity to access justice. As importantly, it means that rapists are avoiding arrest and conviction.

"One factor affecting reporting levels is the degree of confidence that victims have in the police response and how they believe they will be treated in the wider criminal justice system. It is clear from the data published today that there are inconsistencies between forces in the way that they deal with rape. This has the potential to affect victim confidence.

"Local discussions will be generated as a result of this data, and the work that I and others will continue to do at a national level, will steadily reduce these inconsistencies so that we can send a very clear and unequivocal message to victims of rape about how they will be treated."

National Policing Lead for Crime Recording Chief Constable Jeff Farrar said:

"To build people's confidence in the way police deal with sexual offences, it is my view that allegations of rape should be recorded as a crime when it is reported without question or challenge. This will help provide a consistent approach across the country that is supportive and victim-centred. As national lead I will raise this issue in the Crime Statistics Advisory Committee to see if there is more that can be done to improve consistency across forces.

"There was a particular call from Policing and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to have this data, and what it will allow is a robust and well informed discussion at a local level as well as an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves at a national level around achieving a consistent policing response to victims of rape."