Suffolk police today pledged to do everything it can to solve more rapes after an official report showed its detection rapes were in the bottom quarter in the country.

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In response to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s (HMIC) figures one of the force’s most senior officers said continuing to raise the percentage of solved sex assaults was a priority. However, he also added it was paramount victims got the necessary support and counselling, even if they did not wish to go ahead with a prosecution.

The comments came after the HMIC report also showed that 19% of the reported adult rapes for the 12 months ending March 2012 were ‘no crimed’ compared to 12% in the whole of England and Wales. This made it the eighth highest out of 42 forces.

A total of 14% of 116 adult rapes were detected compared to 18% in England and Wales. The solved figure for child rapes was 26% out of 86, compared to 31% across the two countries.

Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington said: “Rape and other serious sexual offences are deeply traumatic for victims – and we are determined to bring offenders to justice while providing a professional, supportive and caring service to those who have suffered such crimes.

“The report released by HMIC today gives a snapshot of the constabulary’s performance in this area at the end of the year 2012/13.

“Since then, we have implemented a series of measures to improve our performance in this area, in line with a key priority of solving more serious sexual offences contained within Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.

“We have strengthened our Gemini teams, which contain the specialist investigators of serious sexual assaults, as well as improving our procedures to ensure that all investigative opportunities are explored.

“The crime rate for serious sexual offences varies from month-to-month, although there is a growing proportion of historic offences being reported following media coverage of high-profile investigations.

“But, since last year, our solved rate for serious sexual offences has improved significantly, increasing by more than 6% in the year to December 2013.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to work to improve our performance in this area to ensure that victims have the confidence to come forward, in the knowledge that their complaint will be taken seriously and they will be given the support they need.”

In relation to Suffolk’s “no crime” figure ACC Skevington said: “When we receive a complaint of rape, it is immediately recorded on our crime system.

“The matter is then investigated thoroughly. If, during these investigations, it becomes apparent that the crime as reported did not take place through additional, verifiable information or a retraction by the victim, then a “no crime” will be recorded.

“This can only take place on the authorisation of a senior officer and will be independently verified, in line with national crime recording standards.”

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