Fewer sex crimes heard in court in Staffordshire and West Midlands
Fewer sexual offences are leading to prosecutions in the West Midlands and Staffordshire.
It is a situation reflected across the UK, with charity End Violence Against Women threatening to take the Crown Prosecution Service to court to prove sex-related crimes are being dropped without good reason.
New Ministry of Justice data shows that 715 sexual offences recorded by West Midlands Police led to a prosecution in 2018 – 41 per cent fewer than two years earlier.
A total of 288 sexual offences recorded by Staffordshire Police led to a prosecution in the same year – 2018 – 38 per cent fewer than 2016.
Sexual offences include rape and sexual assault, crimes against children including sexual abuse and grooming, and crimes that exploit others for a sexual purpose.
Of those prosecuted in the West Midlands, only two in five were convicted – 276 men and one woman.
In Staffordshire it was the same, two in five, 115 men and one woman.
Imprisonment was the most common punishment, with 168 people sentenced to immediate custody in the West Midlands, and 79 in Staffordshire.
Sarah Green, the End Violence Against Women coalition coordinator, said: “We have strong evidence to show that CPS leaders have quietly switched from building cases based on their ‘merits’ back to second-guessing jury prejudices. This is having a detrimental impact on women’s access to justice.”
A CPS spokesman said: “Sexual offences are some of the most complex cases. Decisions to prosecute are based on whether our legal tests are met – no other reason.
“Victims have the right to ask for a review of their case by another prosecutor.”
Rick Muir, the director of the Police Foundation think tank, said: “Sexual crime takes longer to investigate than average because of its complexity, but this trend is also down to having fewer police officers.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “Sexual offences are hugely damaging and have a profound impact on victims.
“While the number of reported sex crimes is increasing, they are also some of the most difficult to prove and successful prosecutions aren’t easy to achieve.
“That said, West Midlands Police know that these crimes are one of my top priorities and I’m reassured that it takes reports of these crimes extremely seriously.”