The Guardian has revealed that the CPS failed to share a secret report with Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), when they were being investigated over falling rape prosecution rates.
The CPS report looked at 200 unprosecuted rape cases and found that the vast majority of prosecutors were making disproportionate” and “unnecessary” requests for additional information.
The CPS report looked at 200 cases between October 2018 and March 2019 and found a number of disproportionate requests including…
- A weather report from 1972
- School reports from the 70s and 80s
- Care home records where there was no indication that these could have or would be relevant,
- All phone downloads
- CCTV or 999 calls when it was clear there was no such evidence
- Request for downloads of all Snapchat communications
It’s believed that CPS prosecutors were repeatedly making unwarranted or unreasonable requests from the police in order to kill off difficult cases and improve their prosecution rates.
The report found that in a large number of cases (approx. 2/3rds) the police were failing to undertake proper supervision themselves and were using the CPS as “gatekeepers” to quality control their files. It also found that in 75% of cases the police failed to respond to appropriate requests for more evidence but it’s unclear as to whether these statistics were impacted by cuts in police numbers over recent years.
What is clear is that prosecution and conviction rates are now at a 10-year low but, although rape charges have dropped by 51% since 2014, reported rapes almost trebled in 2018-19 (from 20,751 to 58,657).