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Sexual Offences: Detection Rates

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the detection rate was for (a) rape and (b) other sexual offences in each police force area in England and Wales in each year since 1997. (143953)

The information requested is given in the tables.

Data are available for 1997 calendar year and from 1998-99 in financial years. This followed a revision to the counting rules for recorded crime and the expanded coverage which came into effect on 1 April 1998. The figures were also affected by the revised detections guidance issued in April 1999 which formalised detection procedures, placing a greater emphasis on the evidential basis on which detections can be claimed. They were also affected by the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002, which required the police to record a crime unless there was

“no credible evidence to the contrary”.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 in May 2004 also altered the definition and coverage of sexual offences, in particular, indecent exposure is now classified as a sexual offence. All these changes mean that detection rates are not comparable over this time period.

The existing statistical evidence suggests that both the changes to detections guidance and the introduction of NCRS had a marked impact in reducing detection rates for sexual offences since 1997. The Home Office is currently researching in detail recent changes in detection rates in rape cases in England and Wales, including variation between forces. This is expected to be published shortly.

New performance management arrangements have been introduced for the police and CPS on the investigation and prosecution of rape. The Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers are also providing operational support to police forces on the implementation of recommendations from Without Consent, the rape inspection published in January 2007.

Table 1: Detection rates1 for rape offences by police force areaPolice force area19971998-991999-200032000-012001-022002-032003-042004-052005-06Avon and Somerset867462432722211822Bedfordshire705643342529212323Cambridgeshire796256504629152122Cheshire1009887868148292828Cleveland899173596541312238Cumbria979391707464303035Derbyshire937352383935333130Devon and Cornwall928996774930192618Dorset947850363925171717Durham93958591n/a68716026Dyfed-Powys9591891097691253518Essex796564503332292725Gloucestershire896966705731282919Greater Manchester857464585546323031Gwent1009192989380785240Hampshire799965585341342621Hertfordshire889678666250503841Humberside655833373323202223Kent928590575638272222Lancashire918379534752353735Leicestershire72433737n/a26282319Lincolnshire1248287675040283124London, City of0005022100000Merseyside907869665347433524Metropolitan Police583228242729332536Norfolk689437353624182123Northamptonshire968295706453373233Northumbria856861504336302529North Wales899285593526292725North Yorkshire8710562735943414134Nottinghamshire835546513634273627South Wales999388919062536029South Yorkshire967988757240383024Staffordshire866839383540323026Suffolk747329363030262125Surrey564845284232352632Sussex805547343526241521Thames Valley905952263227182422Warwickshire797955523027192519West Mercia918764564437353127West Midlands776859534541322529West Yorkshire908376715542312525Wiltshire967368314637413233 n/a = Not available.1 Offences detected in current year may have been initially recorded in an earlier year, so some percentages may exceed 100.2 Expanded offence coverage and revised counting rules came into effect on 1 April 1998.3 Revised detections guidance was implemented on 1 April 1999.4 The data in this table take account of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.5 The Sexual Offences Act 2003, introduced in May 2004, altered the definition and coverage of sexual offences.

Table 2: Detection1 rates for other sexual offences (excluding rape) by police force area

Police force area

1997

1998/992

1999/003

2000/01

2001/02

2002/034

2003/04

2004/055

2005/06

Avon and Somerset

76

68

62

48

33

29

29

22

29

Bedfordshire

70

54

55

57

45

44

29

41

31

Cambridgeshire

71

67

74

60

51

38

32

30

31

Cheshire

94

90

84

87

79

58

49

40

35

Cleveland

77

78

85

81

85

69

60

51

47

Cumbria

90

88

87

86

72

57

51

46

51

Derbyshire

80

79

66

55

66

48

49

37

33

Devon and Cornwall

84

87

90

82

62

48

39

33

33

Dorset

82

75

67

58

53

47

33

31

35

Durham

91

80

93

81

n/a

59

77

69

37

Dyfed-Powys

94

96

95

93

95

91

52

46

48

Essex

68

64

67

57

55

43

40

36

31

Gloucestershire

80

69

72

67

64

42

38

35

34

Greater Manchester

70

72

65

62

58

54

46

30

35

Gwent

95

87

94

91

90

83

81

57

48

Hampshire

79

102

76

66

62

59

44

36

31

Hertfordshire

69

80

72

65

75

54

55

41

43

Humberside

66

60

43

46

38

41

33

30

37

Kent

85

80

78

59

59

49

43

29

32

Lancashire

81

76

75

62

52

61

48

41

44

Leicestershire

78

63

58

46

n/a

35

33

28

33

Lincolnshire

124

84

78

73

68

33

40

41

38

London, City of

74

59

40

38

67

45

35

44

45

Merseyside

81

72

66

69

56

53

47

41

38

Metropolitan Police

62

46

34

33

34

34

35

25

34

Norfolk

91

82

72

51

50

37

46

38

68

Northamptonshire

92

81

84

81

70

53

62

52

39

Northumbria

71

68

58

58

52

51

49

35

47

North Wales

90

93

90

67

58

38

45

42

46

North Yorkshire

77

87

71

74

69

59

54

50

51

Nottinghamshire

76

62

57

47

46

48

46

47

48

South Wales

87

86

84

82

78

59

52

36

34

South Yorkshire

82

84

78

77

67

51

53

38

35

Staffordshire

80

68

37

40

39

55

52

41

36

Suffolk

85

75

72

60

54

57

40

43

45

Surrey

69

110

59

45

45

43

44

34

36

Sussex

76

60

57

48

50

43

41

31

37

Thames Valley

76

61

53

49

44

34

36

29

34

Warwickshire

93

78

62

51

60

48

34

42

42

West Mercia

82

79

69

61

51

49

50

41

48

West Midlands

68

63

60

54

55

44

38

30

34

West Yorkshire

84

74

80

73

67

55

39

32

28

Wiltshire

84

87

68

40

52

42

42

37

41

n/a = Not available.

1 Offences detected in current year may have been initially recorded in an earlier year, so some percentages may exceed 100.

2 Expanded offence coverage and revised counting rules came into effect on 1 April 1998.

3 Revised detections guidance was implemented on 1 April 1999.

4 The data in this table takes account of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.

5 The Sexual Offences Act 2003, introduced in May 2004, altered the definition and coverage of sexual offences.