Suspected rapists in Lancashire are more likely to end up in court than anywhere else in the country, a new report has revealed.
A detailed study into how police forces handle rape allegations has found more than one-in-four cases in Lancashire leads to a suspect being charged.
We want victims to feel confident that they will be treated with compassion and that we will do everything possible to trace those responsible and take action against them.Det Supt Andy Murphy
The report, published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) on behalf of the Rape Monitoring Group, found Lancashire had the highest proportion of reported rapes against adults that ended up in court.
It also backed up police figures showing high profile cases like those of Jimmy Savile and Gary Glitter have sparked a significant rise in the number of rape offences being reported to police.
Det Supt Andy Murphy, of Lancashire Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We want victims to feel confident that they will be treated with compassion and that we will do everything possible to trace those responsible and take action against them. We continually strive to improve the way in which we work with these victims and try to bring the offender to justice. This has led to an increase in confidence from victims that we will be able to help them, and we are now finding that more people are willing to come forward and report what has happened. Rape is a traumatic crime and the victim is at the heart of everything we do.”
Last year, the force received 518 reports of rape, 209 of those against children, which represents an increase of 99 on the previous year. However, 63 investigations were later dropped because either no crime had been committed or the report was a duplicate. During the same period, from April 2013 to March 2014, Lancashire Police referred 214 cases to the CPS, securing 142 charges.
However, despite a rise in rape complaints, the number of allegations made in Lancashire per 100,000 residents remains below the national average.
According to the CPS, 104 people were convicted of rape in Lancashire last year – a 25 per cent increase.
Dru Sharpling, Rape Monitoring Group chairman, said: “The Rape Monitoring Group’s intention in compiling these digests is to prompt scrutiny of how each local area deals with rape. In the absence of a more comprehensive means of understanding the responses to rape offending, these digests provide a good starting point.”