Rapes – by Police Force Regions

Rapes  by Police Force Regions (Eng. & Wales)

by Robert Whiston FRSA   Sept 2010

Is there such a thing as ‘hot spots’ for false allegations of rape ?

Well, there are, if you assume that in some areas the numbers found guilty are disproportionately smaller when compared to the number of trials.  A large number of acquittals or not guilty verdicts might, in these circumstances, indicate that the charges should not have been brought in the first place.

The sheer size of the table (spanning 1997 to 2007), has meant that it is here displayed as two separate tables, Fig 1  and Fig 2.

The Table below (Fig 1) is for England & Wales and depicts, by police force area, the number of defendants for rape offences proceeded against at magistrates’ courts but where the verdict was a). not guilty and b) guilty (1997 – 2000). The caveat is that the numbers are taken from Magistrates’ courts who do not hear rape cases – they are handed on to the Crown Court for adjudication.

Without doubt the worst area, i.e. the one where it is most likely to be falsely accused is in the region where the Avon and Somerset police operate. For 1997, 17.6% found guilty compared with those found not guilty).

Some rather excitable women’s groups, who see everyone accused of rape as automatically guilty would, of course, interpret the same table very differently. They would complain that too many rapists are being let out on the streets to rape again – it’s a pity the numbers of rapes these rapists could perpetrate if indeed they were rapists in the first place don’t bear out their frantic fears.

These excitable women’s groups might immediately fasten onto police forces like Avon and Somerset, complaining they were not putting up a good enough show or the regional CPS was particularly poor at securing convictions.

West Yorkshire with 66 ‘not guilty’ verdicts and 23 ‘guilty’ verdicts produces a 34% ratio while the West Midlands has one of the highest conviction rates at 55%. Devon and Cornwall is a typical force at the lower end of the scale with a conviction rate of approx 27% (11/40), but Dorset was even lower at 17%.

FIG 1. The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for rape offences (1), by outcome (2) and police force area (3), 1997 to 2007 ( 4,5). England & Wales
1997 1998 1999 2000
Police force areas Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt Number found guilty Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt Number found guilty Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt Number found guilty Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt Number found guilty
Avon and Somerset 51 9 52 14 60 9 44 13
Bedfordshire 18 5 26 2 27 5 24 5
Cambridge-shire 15 5 15 2 32 4 23 4
Cheshire 11 8 19 9 17 11 17 11
City of London 2
Cleveland 5 7 13 5 8 8 12 5
Cumbria 11 7 4 10 4 3 3
Derbyshire 30 7 30 6 29 10 25 11
Devon and Cornwall 40 11 10 23 16 17 15 12
Dorset 23 4 13 4 14 7 7 13
Durham 7 7 16 9 18 5 34 3
Essex 27 17 45 13 47 8 27 4
Gloucester-shire 7 2 10 2 9 4 12 7
Greater Manchester 118 25 99 44 97 26 70 41
Hampshire 39 26 48 21 59 25 61 21
Hertfordshire 16 8 10 6 13 7 22 4
Humberside 6 8 17 7 12 8 16 6
Kent 17 12 32 9 18 14 28 17
Lancashire 42 13 38 16 30 28 49 13
Leicester-shire 36 9 25 17 12 12 27 6
Lincolnshire 16 6 21 5 16 3 14 7
Merseyside 7 14 39 17 34 10 53 8
Metropolitan Police 200 95 209 94 268 88 212 97
Norfolk 14 2 16 2 20 2 9 4
North York-shire 12 3 9 6 13 7 8 6
Northampton-shire 0 3 9 4 7 8 4 5
Northumbria 59 24 96 21 83 20 71 16
Nottingham-shire 48 11 42 14 29 21 38 16
South Yorkshire 27 17 26 11 12 14 38 6
Stafford-sh 27 10 17 9 12 13 14
Suffolk 12 4 22 4 11 8 8 5
Surrey 9 3 12 4 10 2 16 2
Sussex 6 13 31 13 26 8 34 7
ThamesValley 48 13 39 9 21 16 24 13
Warwick-shire 4 6 1 4 1 5 1
West Mercia 15 10 23 10 16 8 13 5
West Midlands 65 36 99 44 103 31 113 29
West Yorkshire 66 23 58 43 102 41 91 38
Wiltshire 21 3 23 2 11 1 4 4
Dyfed-Powys 14 6 14 2 26 5 20 4
Gwent 24 11 30 3 23 8 17 7
North Wales 23 6 22 9 18 6 19 4
South Wales 41 21 54 31 46 28 43 20
Total 1,277 517 1,441 571 1,425 561 1,346 519

The Total, at the bottom of the table, shows that the number of trials that resulted in a not guilt verdict rose from 1,277 in 1997, to 1,425 in 1999 but fell back slightly in 2000 to 1,346.

The bottom line Total gives us the overall ratio of 45% across all of Britain’s police forces (517/1,277). However, by 2000 even the national conviction rate had dropped to 38% (519/1,346).

No where do the numbers ‘found guilty’ exceed the numbers found ‘not guilty.’ When we reach a point when they do then we should really worry.

The Table below (Fig 2), uses the same format but for the years 2005 – 2007 i.e. after the passing of the 2003 Sex Offenders Act which broadened the scope of sex offending and thus made convictions easier.

FIG 2. The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for rape offences ( 1) , by outcome ( 2) and police force area ( 3) , 1997 to 2007 ( 4,5) . England & Wales 
2005 2006 2007
Police force area Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt Number found guilty Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt Number found guilty Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt Number found guilty
Avon and Somerset 44 11 47 17 41 18
Bedfordshire 16 8 14 5 8 8
Cambridgeshire 17 9 16 6 19 6
Cheshire 29 10 15 17 14 11
City of London
Cleveland 33 8 16 16 11 20
Cumbria 9 6 10 5 9 9
Derbyshire 52 12 28 20 35 14
Devon and Cornwall 1 19 10 18 8 21
Dorset 16 4 13 8 19 3
Durham 25 8 25 7 22 4
Essex 38 11 17 12 9 8
Gloucestershire 12 3 14 13 26 5
Greater Manchester 134 46 122 47 127 44
Hampshire 71 27 32 30 65 25
Hertfordshire 41 6 46 8 10 12
Humberside 27 16 19 26 1 22
Kent 35 17 44 17 33 26
Lancashire 87 13 49 29 57 23
Leicestershire 37 10 27 7 18 11
Lincolnshire 19 13 7 7 6 6
Merseyside 18 23 26 15 19 15
Metropolitan Police 462 104 404 133 367 138
Norfolk -6 10 11 14 1 11
North Yorkshire 19 11 21 11 16 10
Northamptonshire 12 7 0 12 7 9
Northumbria 43 11 40 19 31 21
Nottinghamshire 38 18 37 13 22 18
South Yorkshire 26 35 38 25 23 24
Staffordshire 32 13 38 8 p 20 20
Suffolk 24 7 24 12 14 5
Surrey 20 4 15 5 14 4
Sussex 53 11 44 11 17 24
Thames Valley 60 21 59 17 31 23
Warwickshire 2 8 6 5 8 2
West Mercia 35 11 20 14 15 9
West Midlands 95 62 113 48 104 55
West Yorkshire 62 48 24 37 32 42
Wiltshire 27 3 10 11 13 7
Dyfed-Powys 7 4 9 3 7 5
Gwent 28 7 35 7 21 14
North Wales 15 3 15 3 3 10
South Wales 51 16 43 16 54 15
Total 1,864 694 1,581 754 1,361 777
(1) Includes
Rape of a female aged under 16—Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 1.
Rape of a female aged 16 or over—Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 1.
Rape of a male aged under 16—Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 1.
Rape of a male aged 16 or over—Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 1.
Rape of a female child under 13 by a male—Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 5.
Rape of a male child under 13 by a male—Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 5.
(2 )“Where proceedings did not lead to a finding of guilt” covers defendants tried and found not guilty as well as proceedings that were discontinued or cases where no evidence was offered, charges were withdrawn or the judge ruled that there was no case to answer.
(3 )Staffordshire police force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher order of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table. (See also footnote (5))
(4 )These data are on the principal offence basis.
(5 )Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Source:
Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis Unit, & Hansard 22 Jan 2009 : Column 1603W -: Column 1608W.

The ability to successfully prosecute would appear to have been enhanced following the 2003 Act – if the numbers are taken at face value.

The number of court trials went up significantly in 2005 as a product of the number of defendants found ‘not guilty’ at 1,864 which was higher than previous years. By 2007 the number of defendants found ‘not guilty’ had fallen back to 2000 levels, i.e. circa 1,361.

What was significantly different from the previous era, i.e. pre the Sex Offences Act 2003 (1997 – 2000), were the number of ‘guilty’ convictions – up from 515 in 1997 to 777 in 2007.

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