NEWLY-released figures show the number of reported rapes in Cheshire has increased.
The figures, released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) and the Rape Monitoring Group, cover a 12 month period up to March 2013 and show an overall increase in the number of adult and child rape offences in Cheshire.
The police say victims now feel more confident reporting incidents to the police.
Assistant Chief Constable Ruth Purdie said: “Cheshire Police welcomes the publication of this data. We are committed to working with our partner agencies to support victims of rape and bring offenders to justice.
“We encourage anyone who has been a victim of rape to come forward with the assurance that we will take their report seriously and investigate it rigorously.”
Det Chief Insp Nigel Wenham, of the Strategic Public Protection Unit (SPPU), said: “Cheshire Police has a dedicated rape unit, which is made up of trained detectives who respond to and deal with all reported rapes.
“The unit works alongside a team of co-located specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers to develop strategies around cases and secure prosecutions.
“Cheshire Police works closely with St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and the Rape and Serious Sexual Assault Support Service (RASASC) to ensure victims of rape receive the support they need during this traumatic time.
“St Mary’s are nationally recognised for their work with rape victims and provide the forensic examination service for the Constabulary. Victims who come forward are also supported by specialist support workers, Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVA), a service delivered in Cheshire through RASASC. Victims can also self-refer to RASASC for advice and support without contacting the police and reporting a crime. The views and wishes of the victim are respected at all times.”
The HMIC figures showed the detection rate in Cheshire was 14 per cent for adult rape and 22 per cent for child rape, below the national average. Offences are classed as ‘detected’ when a suspect is charged or summoned to court.
Cheshire Police say, more recent data, for the period from December 1, 2012 and November 30, 2013, shows officers have achieved a higher than average detection rate compared to other similar police forces.
The numbers also show for adult and child rape, Cheshire had a recorded crime rate in line with the average for England and Wales.
Recorded crime rates are calculated as the number of offences committed against adults and children recorded by the police, divided by population of adults and children.
Following some reported rapes, information comes to light indicating no crime has taken place.
Cheshire Police say they have rigorous systems in place to ensure all decisions to reclassify or ‘no crime’ a reported incident comply with National Crime Recording Standards. The data showed Cheshire is in line with the national average for instances such as this.
To report a rape or sexual assault, contact Cheshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
See full story in the Chester Leader