Detectives in Cambridgeshire close a majority of rape cases before a suspect is charged, new figures reveal.
In 2018, 681 rape investigations were concluded by Cambridgeshire Constabulary – but just 18 resulted in a suspect being charged. The most common reason for investigations being closed was evidential difficulties, even though a suspect had been identified and the victim supported police action. This accounted for 35 per cent of cases.
In a further 33 per cent, a suspect was identified, but the victim did not support police action, or withdrew support from it. In 23 per cent, the crime was confirmed by police, but no suspect was identified and the victim declined or was unable to support further police action. Another three per cent of cases were closed with police concluding that the crime had been investigated as far as reasonably possible, pending further avenues of interest opening up.
A spokeswoman for Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group said: “It’s obviously an extremely disappointing statistic. Giving evidence for a rape case is a harrowing experience for survivors, and often when the accused is found not guilty, it can lead to survivors feeling as if they haven’t been believed.
“We understand that rape is a more complex crime to try than many, as evidence is often one person’s word against another.
“That said, there are instances where justice is served, and we would strongly encourage survivors who feel ready and keen to take a case to court to do so.”
A Cambridgeshire police spokesperson said: “Unfortunately there are some cases where the evidence gathered does not meet the CPS threshold to secure a charge. In other cases victims, who are key in helping us to prosecute offenders, choose not to be involved in the investigation. This means that, unfortunately in some instances, we are unable to proceed with a case.
“We remain committed to investigating each and every case to the full extent we can and securing charges against offenders.”