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Rape reports on rise in town
RAPE cases are on the increase in Warrington with 68 reported to police last year.
An investigation by the Warrington Guardian shows that reports of rape have gone up in each of the last three years.
In 2010, 42 were reported. In 2011, 44 were reported. In 2012, 68 were reported.
DCI Nigel Wenham, of Cheshire Police, said the rise in reports is ‘positive’ as police are becoming better at detecting incidents of rape.
He said: “Sometimes it’s difficult to identify the reason for rape going up.
“It could be there are more victims of sexual assaults, but it’s more likely to be down to the better services we have available.
“I can imagine it’s a combination.
“Any increase can only be seen as positive because we know there is a percentage of victims who don’t come forward and report being a victim of sexual assault.
“The fact that they are is reassuring.”
DCI Wenham pointed to the opening of the Dedicated Rape Unit in September 2011 as a reason more rapes are being recorded.
The specialist Cheshire Police team deals only with sexual offences.
It works with partners like the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, a service that helps victims.
Police were unable to provide figures of how many reported rapes resulted in suspects being convicted - known as the ‘attrition rate’ - in Warrington.
But the amount of suspects being successfully convicted ‘needs to be better’, according to DCI Wenham.
He said: “There are lots of factors that can mean someone is found not guilty.
“In some cases there isn’t enough evidence for it to be prosecuted by CPS.
“We want the best outcome for the victim and a successful outcome.”
A freedom of information request by the Warrington Guardian to the Crown Prosecution Service showed rape conviction rates in Cheshire are improving.
However, less than half of all suspects charged with rape last year were convicted.
In 2010 and 2011, it was less than a third.
A spokesman for CPS Merseyside and Cheshire said: “Charges of rape may be considered at the time of the pre-charge decision but following the charging decision a defendant may be charged with another offence.
“Similarly, there may be cases where a person was proceeded against for rape but convicted of a lesser offence.”
These figures, obtained from a FOI request to CPS, show the outcomes of all rape cases in Cheshire over the last three years.
Please note - some cases are not concluded within a year, which is why there are more charges than outcomes in each section.
Cases referred to CPS - 74
Charged - 68
Convicted - 24
Prosecution dropped - 6
Acquitted - 8
Cases referred to CPS - 89
Charged - 87
Convicted - 24
Prosecution dropped - 7
Acquitted - 8
Unfit to plead - 1
Cases referred to CPS - 123
Charged - 101
Convicted - 49
Prosecution dropped - 2
Acquitted - 16