The criminal justice system’s response to rape allegations is plagued by a “blame culture” and “finger pointing” between police and prosecutors, the watchdog has found.
There are “deep divisions” and “poor communication” between police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) around rape prosecutions and convictions, the new report said.
It comes after the government’s rape review, which apologised for “failing” victims and revealed a 62% fall in prosecutions and 47% drop in convictions over the past five years.
The report, carried out by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), found that there are “continuing underlying tensions” between the two agencies.
It noted a “desire on both sides to blame the other for low charge and conviction rates”.
The report concluded: “Until this blame culture is eradicated, a real shift in attitudes seems unachievable.”
Why is rape so difficult to prosecute?
Other examples of failings included an insistence on communicating by email for so-called “case audit purposes”, which led to “frustration” between police and prosecutors and a “barrier to effective communication”.