§ The Solicitor-General
[holding answer 15 July 2002]There are no wholly reliable or national figures which touch on the precise statistics that the hon. Member seeks.
Some information about the extent to which reported cases reach trial may be found in the Report on the Joint Inspection into the Investigation and prosecution of cases involving Allegations of rape, published in April 2002 by HMCPSI and HMIC. The Inspection included examination of a sample of 1,741 reported complaints of rape. The offender was charged in 467 of these cases. Therefore, of the 1,741 reports of rape, some 26 per cent. resulted in a charge or summons.
The Inspectorates' analysis does not show how many of those 467 prosecutions proceeded to trial or to guilty plea. However, the Inspectorates' Report also analysed 88 rape cases that did proceed to court. Of these 88, approximately 56 per cent. proceeded to trial (35 defendants were found not guilty after a trial and 14 were convicted after a trial). A further 39 defendants, or approximately 44 per cent. pleaded guilty without the need for a trial, which amounts to a conviction rate (including guilty pleas and those convicted after a trial) of 60.8 per cent.
The 1,741 crime reports were drawn from ten Police Forces, and the 88 rape cases that proceeded to court were drawn from nine of these ten Police Forces. The cases were initially recorded as rape for the period 31 December 2000 or before (each Police Force was asked to provide up to a specified number of cases). In view of the limited nature of the file sample, it would be unwise to extrapolate national statistics from these figures.
I take very seriously the need to ensure that all parts of the criminal justice system adopt best practice when dealing with rape cases. In response to the Thematic Review, the Crown Prosecution Service, Home Office and Court Service have drawn up an Action Plan to improve practice in the investigation and prosecution of offenders, and to ensure better treatment of victims and witnesses. The Plan was published on 22 July.
§ The Solicitor-General
[holding answer 15 July 2002]The answer is set out at the table attached. The figures include guilty pleas and convictions after trial. The data for 2001 will not be available until Autumn this year.
Persons1 tried for rape2 at the Crown and numbers and proportion found guilty England and Wales, 1996 to 2000 Persons tried1 Persons found guilty Proportion found guilty 1996 1,125 575 51% 1997 1,249 615 49% 1998 1,518 674 44% 1999 1,464 654 45% 2000 1,373 593 43% 1Principal offence basis. 2Rape of a female and rape of a male. 3Persons for trial excluding those not tried.