News

Rape Monitoring Group figures released

13 Oct 2016 08:22 AM

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The latest figures published by the national Rape Monitoring Group, an agency coordinated by HMIC, once again show a significant increase in rape offences recorded in Northumbria, in-line with the national trend.
The figures show improved confidence in reporting, welcomed by Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Vera Baird QC and Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best.
Vera Baird QC, said: "Victims of rape deserve the very best care and support, here in Northumbria we have ensured that this has happened.  We have specially trained officers, we are working with partner organisations to ensure victims know that if they report it, they will be believed.  Northumbria Police will continue to encourage victims of sexual assault to come forward, whether recent or historic – our priority will always be the victim and today’s data shows that we are putting them first and we will continue to improve.”
To ensure all victims of sexual assault and rape have the confidence to report rape and sexual assault to the police, last year Commissioner Baird introduced a Rape Scrutiny Panel - a team of specially trained volunteers who examine case files where an allegation has not resulted in a complaint, where an investigation results in the finding that 'no crime' has been committed or where the evidence available has not reached the required threshold for the case to be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. She also implemented a Court Observers Panel to attend all adult rape trials at Newcastle Crown Court to ensure victims are treated with respect through the court process. Issues are then reported back to the Commissioner so they can be addressed them and work can continue with partners to improve the victim experience.
Commissioner Baird added: "Although the conviction rate appears less this year that is not correct. It takes more than a year for most rape cases to reach court.  The convictions recorded in 2015/16 will be mainly from those prosecuted the year before, which were a significantly smaller number. To seek to know how many of the 170 prosecutions commenced in 2015 produced convictions, we would need to wait at least another six months or more."
Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best said : "We have worked hard to demonstrate that we put victims first here in Northumbria and this means that more and more people are gaining the confidence to report sexual crimes to us including those that are historic. 
“We have a dedicated team that helps support victims alongside partner agencies and specialist services. We aim to put victims first in everything that we do. My message to victims is that we will believe you, we will make every effort to ensure you are supported and with your help we will do our absolute best to bring those that have offended against you to justice.”