Lincolnshire Police investigated 101 reports of adult rape between 2013/14, according to figures from the force.
Of these reports, recorded between March 1, 2013 and January 28, 2014, 23 cases were later dropped due to no evidence — a ‘no crime’.
The latest figures come after a new report from HMIC and the Rape Monitoring Group, analysing police forces’ previous rape report statistics.
The figures for Lincolnshire Police, recorded over the 12 months to end of March 2013, found the force to be in line with national averages for investigation of rapes, but with a high level of ‘no crimes’.
According to the report, the ‘no crimes’ recorded were at 33% — the national average is 12%.
Meanwhile, its recorded crime rate per 100,000 or the population is below average at 12.5% (the average is 22%).
The lower result is due to a smaller population and a smaller rate of rape crime in Lincolnshire.
In that time, 110 rapes were recorded around the county, but after investigation it was concluded 36 had not happened.
Sanction detection rate — detected crimes that have been cleared or “solved” by the police — was in line with the national average at 16%.
Based on the newer figures from Lincolnshire Police, the ‘no crimes’ rate for rapes for the past year would be of 22%.
High charge to conviction rate
Lincolnshire Police issued a statement addressing the ‘no crimes’ statistics and how they use data once a rape allegation is filed.
Detective Superintendent Rick Hatton said: “In Lincolnshire we are committed to investigating reports of rape and other sexual offences in thorough meticulous manner.
“We have a specialist unit known as our ‘Emerald Team’ made up of highly trained and motivated officers and staff.
“As a result of this we have a detection rate of 23% and the second highest charge to conviction rate in the country.
“Thanks to the hard work put in by our partners and our own staff in the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) we are ranked number one in the country in terms of the services we commit to victim support.
“The figures released by the HMIC in respect of reported adult rapes refer to the period 1st April 2012 to 31st March 2013.
“In that period 110 adult rapes where recorded of which, after thorough investigations it was subsequently decided 36 had not taken place. They were then filed under the ‘no crimes’ category.
“This ‘no crime’ rate reflects our ethical recording of crime. It shows that we investigate all allegations of rape.
“Lincolnshire Police record reported offences as early as we can.
“This demonstrates transparency in our investigations. It also helps us to obtain statistical information such as crime trends and series of offences. It also enables us to capture and assess criminal intelligence.
“We record crime and no crime offences in an ethical, accurate manner in line with National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS).
“We are only able to classify a crime as a ‘no crime’ when additional verifiable information comes to light after recording.
“When a rape is reported the initial responding officer is responsible for victim care, scene identification and protection etc.
“The investigation is then dealt with by our aforementioned force dedicated sexual offences investigation ‘Emerald’ team.
“They are on-call round the clock. If the officer who initially attended the incident has not submitted a crime report the Emerald team will do so as soon as the victim confirms what has happened.
“If it is decided that the offence has not been committed an in depth report must be submitted.
“This must detail all the information and evidence which verifies and supports the conclusion that the offence did not happen. The report is ultimately submitted to crime management bureau supervisors trained in NCRS compliance.
“Our force Crime Registrar, a former Detective Inspector, also personally examines and audits every case where an adult rape has been classified as ‘no crime’.
“We cannot entirely explain why the percentage of rape ‘no crime’ in Lincolnshire is higher than in other areas but we are affected by the relatively low level of such crimes in Lincolnshire.
“This means that small variations in numbers can make large differences in percentage terms.”
Charity’s ‘grave concern’
The Lincolnshire Rape Crisis charity feels the ‘no crime’ statistics are concerning, indicating that victims may not be believed.
The charity is concerned victims do not feel supported enough to come forward after a rape or sexual assault.
In statement, the charity said: “It is important not to forget that the vast majority of those who experience rape or other forms of sexual violence still do not report to the police.
“We are gravely concerned about the no crime rape figures in Lincolnshire and are concerned not only for those that have fallen victim to ‘no criming’ but for those that will be affected and influenced by ‘no criming’ figures.
“The outcome of which will no doubt discourage many women from reporting Rape in the future.
“The entire practice of ‘no criming’ sends out an awful message to survivors. The higher the figure is in Lincolnshire the message of “We do not believe you” is reinforced.”
“Lincolnshire Rape Crisis work with the ethos of ‘we believe you!’. Any woman or girl that tells us that she has been raped is believed.
“Lincolnshire Rape Crisis will be here for women and girls in Lincolnshire who have been affected by ‘no criming’ and who have suffered sexual violence of any kind at any point in their lives.”