'A culture of disbelief': New figures reveal wide variations in how different police forces treat reported rapes nationwide

Lincolnshire registered a third of reported rapes as 'no crimes'

Rape victims face a potential “culture of disbelief” when they come forward to police after new figures revealed wide differences in how forces treated reports of the most serious sex crimes.

An examination of the 43 police forces in England and Wales revealed that one registered a third of reported rapes as “no crimes” after receiving new information - while another downgraded only three per cent of cases.

Rape charities said that the figures suggested that a culture of scepticism remained in some forces after a series of high-profile scandals linked to the way rape cases had previously been handled.

A watchdog’s investigation into a specialist sex-crime unit’s operations in London five years ago revealed that officers pressured rape victims into retracting their complaints to improve detection rates.

The number of recorded rapes has increased steadily with about 10,000 attacks on adults and 6,000 on children in the year to March 2013. The increase is attributed in part to a surge in people coming forward following the unmasking of Jimmy Savile as a serial abuser.

However, only a fifth of those raped or sexually assaulted are believed to report it to the police in part because of concerns about how they will be treated by the criminal justice system.

“This is not a surprise to us,” said Professor Liz Kelly, chair of the End Violence Against Women coalition. “Our member organisations know how deep disbelief and victim-blaming goes in institutions and communities. But the police play a critical role enabling rape survivors to access justice, so these disparities and attitudes must be urgently tackled.”

The figures were compiled to help forces and police and crime commissioners compare their performance against other forces.

The figures showed that Lincolnshire had the highest no-crime rate at 33 per cent. The force said that it recorded all rape cases in an “ethical, accurate manner” but said that it could not entirely explain why its figures were higher than other forces.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Dru Sharpling said: “We don't measure a culture of disbelief but it would raise a question in my mind about that issue.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones