Regulation & Government

CPS caseload 50% above pre-pandemic levels

Rape charges have risen by almost 5% over the year, but there were 330 fewer convictions due to the impact of court closures during the first lockdown

The CPS has revealed that its caseload is 50% higher than its pre-pandemic levels at 165,157, although this has reduced from its peak of more than 180,000 live cases last August.

This was revealed in the publication of its full-year statistics for the period between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Rape charges have risen by almost 5% over the year, but there were 330 fewer convictions due to the impact of court closures during the first lockdown. 

However, there was a “steady recovery” in the number of completed rape prosecutions since courts began to reopen last summer. 

Alongside this, the CPS said more perpetrators should be seeing justice in time, also in part due to a rise in referrals by police and a four percentage point increase in the charge rate to 62.9%.

The CPS is also increasing resources for our specialist Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) units so they are equipped to deal with “more cases, more quickly”.

Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Our prosecutors have performed an essential public service throughout this pandemic year, with almost 310,000 convictions secured despite the challenges we have all faced.Safely completing outstanding prosecutions is a CPS priority for the next 12 months and we are working with partners across the criminal justice system to reduce the backlog. 

“We are also continuing our ongoing efforts to improve every aspect of how offences of violence against women and girls are handled – and reduce the unacceptable gap between reports of these devastating crimes and victims seeing justice.”

He added: “There is still a long way to go but we are beginning to see some progress in the number and proportion of rape cases being charged, which should in time see more rapists held accountable for their devastating actions.

“In addition, we strongly empathise with the torment domestic abuse victims and their families have suffered during the pandemic and the CPS is prioritising measures to better protect them and bring more offenders before the courts.”

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