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Charge rate for sex offences increased in Wiltshire

New figures show an improved charge rate for sexual offences in Wiltshire.

Data shows the number of sexual offences resulting in a charge or summons has increased in the county from 6% to 10.1%

The national charge rate has also increased slightly to 5.7%, compared with 5.5% the previous year.

Police and crime commissioner Philip Wilkinson said the figures were a “step in the right direction” for victims of rape and serious sexual assault.

The data was published last week by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), and covers the investigative outcomes of offences recorded by police in England and Wales between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023.

Chief Constable Catherine Roper said she “cautiously” welcomed what appeared to be a “broadly positive trend” reflected in the figures, adding that care must be taken when interpreting statistics.

Wiltshire Police has invested more than £750,00 in a specialist team focusing on investigating and preventing violence against women and girls.

Mr Wilkinson said: “Improving outcomes for victims and ensuring quality investigations are being carried out has been a core focus for Wiltshire Police in the last year.

“The latest figures show things are starting to go in the right direction but there is still more to be done and we will not become complacent.”

Michaela-Clare Addison, national sexual violence lead at charity Victim Support, said: “We welcome an increase in the number of sexual offences resulting in a charge in Wiltshire.

“This is in the context of a sustained increase in reports to the police, highlighting that more victim-survivors feel able to come forward.

“However, many victim-survivors continue to be let down by the justice system as prosecution and conviction rates remain far too low.

“The government must invest to ensure police and CPS can effectively roll out reforms to the way in which sexual offences are investigated, and to have a positive impact on victim-survivors’ experiences of the criminal justice system.”

(Source: BBC)

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