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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests