22 April 2024

Data shows improved charge rates for sexual offences in Wiltshire

Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson says it’s a step in the right direction for victims of rape and serious sexual offences after the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published new figures.

Figures released last week cover the investigative outcomes of offences recorded by the police in England and Wales between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023. It shows the number of crimes resulting in a charge and/or summons this year increased slightly to 5.7% nationally, compared with 5.5% the previous year.

The same pattern continues in Wiltshire, with the number of sexual offences resulting in a charge or summons increasing from 6.0% to 10.1% – a 4.1% increase.

Rape charges and summons have also increased from 3.8% to 7.7% – a 3.9% increase – both of these figures are higher than the national increase.

Mr Wilkinson said: “Violent and sexual crimes against women and girls cause great concern in our communities, and we have seen a real push nationally to tackle these growing issues.

“Improving outcomes for victims and ensuring quality investigations are being carried out has been a core focus for Wiltshire Police in the last year and this is directly delivering against a key priority within my Police and Crime Plan.

“The latest figures show things are starting to go in the right direction but there is still more to be done, and we will not become complacent, however.

“I have worked closely with our new Chief Constable and acted upon operational advice to invest in Wiltshire Police’s capacity. In the same time period as the figures, we have invested more than £750,000 in a specialist team focusing on investigating and preventing violence against women and girls, commissioned a new Independent Sexual Violence Advisory (ISVA) Service, and conducted victim-based surveys to improve service levels.

“This work is continuing, and we have recently set up Listening Circles for victims of sexual offences to share their experiences and help shape the service provided by the force.

“Behind every statistic is a person – a victim of crime – and we must, and should, do everything we can to ensure they are supported through the criminal justice process and to protect our communities by consistently ensuring justice is served.”

Chief Constable Catherine Roper said: “I cautiously welcome what appears to be a broadly positive trend reflected in the latest set of figures released by the ONS.

“Whilst care must always be taken in interpreting statistics, the focus and commitment from across Wiltshire Police to improve our standards and professionalism of service appears to be being evidenced in the positive trajectory shown in the report published on Friday (21/07).

“We continue to drive forward improvements in the Force, and we are certainly not resting on our laurels. However, indicators such as these will, I hope, be welcomed by everyone within the organisation and the communities we serve as a result of the positive steps that are being made to create lasting change and to continue to evolve and improve the service we provide.”

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns