Great Britain

Police 'working incredibly hard' to improve rape conviction rates - panel told

WEST Yorkshire Police is “working incredibly hard” to improve conviction rates for rape, the force’s chief constable John Robins has said.

Just over six per cent of all rape allegations between April 2017 and March 2018 were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) by police in the region, it emerged last month.

The CPS then makes a decision about whether or not to charge a suspect and take the case to court.

The issue was raised at a West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel meeting on Friday, which was attended by the chief constable.

Leeds councillor Amanda Carter said: “I saw a report about the fact that just six per cent of allegations were passed onto the CPS.

“That’s a concern.

“Sadly there are some people who cry ‘rape’ when they haven’t been raped and report a false allegation.

“That’s awful and it doesn’t help anyone, including victims. Can I ask how many of these were false allegations?”

3,000 reports of rape in one year to West Yorkshire Police

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson said he was unsure of the exact figure but added he believed it was “very small”.

CC Robins said that everyone who reports a rape claim to the police was given specialist support.

He said: “The number of people being convicted for rape was actually increasing year-on-year, but over the last year that’s dropped away.

“There has been a change in processes within the CPS with regard to the disclosure of phone records for victims.

“That may or may not have caused a delay in some cases, and potentially there’s a negative consequence for victims in that they don’t want to expose their whole lives to the criminal justice system.

“There’s a national discussion within the CPS about that at the moment.

“But it’s one of those things where we want more convictions and we’re working incredibly hard on that.”

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