Rape: Criminal Prosecutions Debate

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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Main Page: Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Labour - Life peer)
Tuesday 28th June 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the response to the Question in the other place. This is a deeply serious subject. The situation in our Crown Courts is dire. Home Office figures show that just 1.3% of the 67,125 rape offences recorded by the police in 2021 led to a prosecution. The Statement pointed to a small improvement in the figures, and I acknowledge that improvement. However, those improvements are starting from a tragically low base. In the vast majority of cases the police do not refer the case to the CPS because they see witnesses as unreliable through drink, drugs or mental capacity.

I and the Government believe that the proper training of police officers can improve this situation. I have two specific questions for the Minister. First, does he believe that there should be specialist rape units in all police forces? Secondly, does he believe that the number of specialist trained police officers should be publicised and publicly available?

Lord Bellamy Portrait Lord Bellamy (Con)
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My Lords, I am sure that the question of improved training for the police has an important role to play in dealing with the situation that we are faced with. We are undertaking, in effect, a multitrack approach, which I think has three main aspects: restoring victims’ trust in the system; improving investigations—that is where police training comes in very directly; and improving the procedures in the police, the CPS and the courts. With those three aspects, including increased training for the police, I venture to hope that we shall recover from the present situation.