Police failing to record rape complaints as crimes

Up to a third of all rape allegations made to police in some parts of London were never recorded as crimes at all last year, disturbing new figures reveal today.

Statistics released to The Independent and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism show that in 2013, officers working for the Metropolitan Police classified 22 per cent of the 4,339 rape reports they received as either “crime-related incidents” or “no crimes”.

But there was huge variations across the London boroughs, with 30 per cent of allegations being dropped in this way in Bexley, Lambeth and Kingston-upon-Thames compared with just 9 per cent in Enfield and 13 per cent in Newham. As many as 32 per cent of allegations made in Lambeth did not make official crime figures.

Earlier this week a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found police across the country were failing to record 20 per cent of all crimes accurately.

These new figures show that very significant under-recording extends even to the most serious of crimes. The situation is likely to be similar across much of the country, but many forces do not even record initial allegations of rape – making it impossible to measure drop off rates.

Read more: ‘She had Spanx on’: why the CPS dropped one rape case – as prosecution and conviction rates fall even further

It comes after The Independent and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism yesterday highlighted significant falls in conviction rates for rape across the country - and a case which was dropped by prosecutors in part because the woman was wearing Spanx.

The police are supposed to record allegations of rape as a crime as soon as they think that on the balance of probabilities a rape has occurred. They can only then drop an allegation if additional evidence comes to light proving no offence occurred. If this happens the allegation is recorded as a ‘no-crime’.

Crime statistics show the number of rapes classed as ‘no-crimes’ are dropping in many forces, including the Met. But the Bureau’s investigation reveals that a high proportion of rape allegations made to the Met were never recorded as a crime in the first place - meaning they were dropped at even earlier stage.

These allegations are classified as ‘crime related incidents’ (CRIs), a category that is only meant to be used where the police cannot confirm that a crime has taken place to start with – for example if a caller reports a rape without identifying the victim.

Thirteen per cent of rape complaints made to the Met in 2013 were classified in this way, compared with 9 per cent that were classed as ‘no-crimes’.

The revelation that so many reported rapes are dismissed as CRIs has raised the concern that the Met has been misusing this category for cases it does not want to pursue.

A report to the Met by one of the victims of black cab driver John Worboys, who was convicted in 2009 of multiple drug-assisted rapes, was classified as a CRI rather than a crime.

A Met spokeswoman said some cases could end up not being recorded as they were actually the responsibility of other forces.

In a statement the force said: “To date within the current calendar year only 2 ‘no crimes’ have been authorised compared to 80 during the same period in 2013.

“In May 2014 the Met will hold its first independent review panel consisting of three law professors who will consider these ‘no crime’ decisions.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable