Gazette Investigation: CPS conviction rate 'benchmark' never made public
An undisclosed Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) target may be behind huge declines in numbers of rape suspects charged since 2016, the Gazette can reveal.
Rape prosecutions in England and Wales have plummeted to their lowest level since 2008, despite record numbers of allegations to police. Women’s rights organisations brought a legal action against the CPS this autumn, alleging that a covert change in its internal practice was partly responsible.
The CPS has previously denied any change in its approach to charging rape. But it has now admitted to the Gazette that it imposed targets on staff between 2016 and 2018 that were ‘not appropriate’ and may have acted as a ‘perverse incentive’ on prosecutors, deterring them from charging less straightforward cases.
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