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Call for greater police action to prevent rapes

The Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has called on police forces throughout England and Wales to be more proactive in their efforts to prevent rapes.

Martin Hewitt said that there was, at the present time, a concentration on investigation and prosecution, but relatively little on prevention and this had to be addressed, focusing on those who are vulnerable to abuse and institutions and where the intelligence suggests that abuse is taking place.

He said that, though the rape conviction rate was at an all-time high, it was still the case that more than a third of rape prosecutions do not result in a conviction and he called on forces to be more honest about the challenges faced in investigating and prosecuting rape.

Figures also suggest that, though there has been an increase of 30% in the numbers of rapes reported to police, the number of allegations handed to prosecutors has reached a five-year low. The 2012/13 figures showed that out of over 17,000 reports, only 5,404 cases were sent by the police onto the Crown Prosecution Service.

Victim Support and Women Against Rape have said that the number of rape convictions was the crucial factor with too many reports ending with no further action taken. Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said it was important that victims felt confidence in the system and felt that if they reported a rape or sexual offence, the matter would be dealt with “thoroughly and sensitively”.

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