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Experts called the statistic “frightening” and have demanded mandatory police training to aid survivors. It means the “charge rate” is down from seven per cent in 2016 – with only one in 77 reported rapes resulting in a charge last year.
In major crime across the board, the charge or summons to reporting rate dropped from 13.1 per cent to 5.6 per cent. For “violence against the person” the rate fell from 16.8 to 5.2 per cent.
For robbery, the rate went down from 13.7 to just 6.3 per cent.
And for sexual offences as a whole, the rate slumped from 9.6 to 2.9 per cent.
The findings have deepened fears that women who do report crimes such as rape and domestic abuse receive neither the support nor the justice they need and deserve.
Farah Nazeer, the chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “These figures are frightening and deeply concerning.
“We know that many survivors already fear not being believed and worry they’ll be judged when reporting abuse, thanks to mainstream misogynistic views and victim-blaming.”
Ms Nazeer called for “mandatory police training” from organisations such as Women’s Aid to ensure “any woman who reports domestic abuse receives the right response, first time”.
There has also been a collapse in the charge rate for drug offences between 2016 and 2022, down from 34.5 to 19.4 per cent.
The charge rate for criminal damage and arson fell from 7.5 to 4.2 per cent, and for possession of firearms offences it dropped from 54 per cent to 27.5.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper described the findings as “a disgrace”.
She said: “More criminals are getting off, more victims are being let down. After 12 years of Conservative policies, there are 6,000 fewer neighbourhood police on the streets and the number of criminals being caught and charged has collapsed.”
Steve Hartshorn, who chairs the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers are “run ragged” and called for more resources.
Stressing that charging decisions are made by the Crown Prosecution Service rather than the police, he blamed “unnecessary bureaucracy” and increased demands on officers.
He said: “We continue to face a ‘do more with less’ situation, including dealing with issues that other public services cannot deal with, such as mental health crises.
“The Government must step up and properly recognise and support police officers who are run ragged, struggling to deliver the service they want to give the public.”
Rick Muir, director of the Police Foundation think tank, blamed the economic “austerity” policies of past governments.
He said: “Charge rates have fallen because austerity meant there were fewer officers to investigate crime, because the mix of crimes has become more complex to investigate and because of changes in crime recording.
“Hopefully, increased police officer numbers will help to some extent, although not enough is being done currently to address the 7,000 shortfall of detectives.”
Gregor McGill, of the Crown Prosecution Service, and Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Nick Dean, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s “lead for charging”, issued a joint statement in response to the figures.
They said: “The criminal justice system has seen a period of unprecedented change with the pandemic, pressure on the courts and the significant growth in digital evidence increasing the complexity of cases.
“We are firm in our commitment to provide the service the public rightly expect.
“We are working together to rise to these challenges and help the charge rate increase.”
The Ministry of Justice was invited to comment.
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