Fewer than one in four rape prosecutions successful – but figure is improving

By Lisa O'Brien | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Fewer than one in four rape cases brought to court by West Mercia Police last year resulted in a conviction, figures show.


Data, released by the Ministry of Justice, reveals that in 2017 only 23 per cent of West Mercia Police's prosecutions for rape were successful.

Last year the force brought 122 cases to court, and 28 resulted in convictions.

Meanwhile, Dyfed-Powys Police said it took 21 rape cases to court in 2017, with 13 successful convictions.

Across England and Wales overall one in five rape cases are successfully prosecuted, according to the MoJ.

The MoJ's data includes cases where rape is the principle or most serious offence, so incidents where the victim was killed would be counted as murder or manslaughter.

The figures show that prosecutions for West Mercia Police are getting more successful.

In 2016, 21 per cent of rape cases brought to court resulted in convictions.

West Mercia policing lead for Telford and Shropshire, Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell said every report of rape is thoroughly investigated, with officers doing all they can to ensure justice for the victim.


He said: “It is vitally important to us that victims of rape have the confidence to come forward and report these to police knowing that they will be believed and we will carry out a thorough investigation to do all we can to secure the best possible outcome for them.

“In Telford and Shropshire anyone making a report of a rape will be visited by a specially trained officer in the first instance, this officer could be a uniformed officer, or plain clothes.

"These officers will work with the victim right from the onset to help achieve the very best evidence and ensure the victim is supported right through the investigation and beyond.

“In addition to specially trained officers working closely with victims, all of our CID detectives have specialist rape investigation training to deal with the sensitive and complex nature of rape investigations, and we have teams dedicated to protecting vulnerable people whose work includes rape investigations where the victim and offender are known to each other, again these teams are specially trained to deal with the sensitivities and complexities of such incidents."


Detective Chief Superintendent Shane Williams, for Dyfed-Powys Police, said the force also takes all reports of a sexual nature seriously and ensures victims receive the support they need.

He added: “I can offer reassurance that we will continue to deal robustly with such crimes, particularly those committed against the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“To ensure that we improve our investigations, all serious sexual offence cases are jointly reviewed with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and partner agencies on a regular basis.

"This is an honest and productive relationship whereby key feedback from all court cases is discussed.

"The aim is to improve service to victims, witnesses and the public in all serious crime investigations.“

A CPS spokeswoman said: “We recognise that rape and serious sexual offences are some of the most complex cases prosecuted by the CPS and we have worked hard in recent years to improve how we deal with these cases.

"We have almost doubled the number of specialist prosecutors in our dedicated rape and serious sexual offence units and improved the support we offer victims through criminal proceedings.

“In recognition of the unique challenges involved in prosecuting these offences and taking them to trial, the CPS is focused on building strong cases with all available evidence, including CCTV, eyewitness accounts and mobile phone evidence, and supporting victims throughout the process."

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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