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Sat, 24 October 2020

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Downing Streets denies plan to impose rape prosecution targets on police and CPS

Downing Streets denies plan to impose rape prosecution targets on police and CPS

Downing Street have insisted they are not seeking to impose rape prosecution targets

2 min read

Downing Street has batted away suggestions it is considering imposing rape conviction targets on the police and prosecutors.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister dismissed suggestions Number 10 had been looking at a scheme to boost prosecution rates, saying any such move would "undermine prosecutorial impartiality".

It comes after The Guardian reported that the prime minister's crime and justice taskforce is mulling seting targets for the police to refer more rape cases to the Crown Prosecution Service, and for the CPS to bring more of those cases to trial.

The paper said the cross-government taskforce was considering the plans due to falling numbers of rape cases being taken to trial.

Official figures show police referrals to the CPS have dropped 40% since 2016-17, while prosecutions dropped by 59% of over the same period, despite reports of rape rising by a third.

But asked if they were considering such a scheme, a Number 10 spokesperson, said: "The short answer to that is no.

"Quotas or numerical targets would undermine prosecutorial impartiality where cases are individual by nature and require a specific set of considerations in each instance."

They added: "We are determined to protect victims of rape and to give them the confidence that everything will be done to bring offenders to justice."

The comments come after a judge granted a woman's group the right to seek a judicial review into how the CPS prosecutes rape cases, after it was reported that prosecutors in England and Wales had been advised in training seminars to take some "weak cases out of the system" to boost conviction rates.

The CPS has denied they had changed their decision-making processes.

A government spokesperson added: "We are determined to restore faith in the justice system and give victims of rape the confidence that everything will be done to bring offenders to justice.

"We will continue to work with the police to look at ways to improve their role in the investigation and prosecution of rape, and ensure that their guidance and best practice is implemented in every police force area."

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