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Body Worn Video Steering Group

Crown Prosecution Service – BWV May Improve Sex Offence Conviction Rates

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In Hampshire the conviction rate for rape sits 38.5%, while in Cumbria that figure is at 80.6% – something which is worrying to the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex. Citing issues related to the statistics, the CPS said an increase in historical allegations are proving difficult to convince a jury – signifying at least in part some reason for the 10% drop.

BWV

“These crimes are pernicious, insidious and they have a long-lasting effects on victims” said Kate Brown, chief crown prosecutor at CPS Wessex.

“They can present a real challenge to prosecute as often these offences are not recent, victims have been traumatised by these crimes and the court process can be daunting.”

She added the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit, set up in 2011, has prosecuted more than 100 rape and sexual offences cases in 2014-2015.

In Hampshire police body cameras have been effective in reducing crime and/or providing better evidence for which to convict. The CPS said evidential footage captured by the devices can help – potentially by capturing the immediate aftermath of an incident, which has also helped convict perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes said: ‘The constabulary has worked hard to improve the way it gathers evidence to present to the CPS, such as forensic capability, digital case files and the use of body-worn video (BWV), and the support given to victims of violent and sexual crime.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Ben Snuggs said the force does everything possible to make sure victims are confident in reporting crime.

He said: “We are also acutely aware that there has been a higher number of rape cases resulting in no conviction after trial.”

“We recognise the impact this can have on victims of rape and sexual violence and so our investigators and specially trained officers are working hard to ensure we do everything we can to gather good evidence and support victims.”

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