NPCC and CPS collaborate to improve performance on rape and sexual assault
The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service has signed a Joint National Action Plan
that sets out a wide-ranging plan for greater collaboration to improve the response to RASSO cases.
It is designed to ensure victims have confidence in the criminal justice system and receive the best possible support
and care whilst investigations and prosecutions take place.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Rape, Deputy Chief Constable Sarah Crew, said that they had been ‘working
hard to improve the outcomes for victims of rape and serious sexual assaults for some time now.’
‘Everyone in policing knows that we must bring more offenders to justice and improve the service given to survivors
of this terrible crime.’
DCC Crew said that progress was already being made in implementing the join action plan.
‘We are improving the expertise of officers, making sure we gather strong evidence from the outset, tackling myths
and stereotypes about rape and working closely with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors so we can support victims
in the best way possible.’
Sue Hemming, Director of Legal Services at the CPS, said: ‘Rape and serious sexual offences are incredibly traumatic and it’s vital we are fair, effective, informed and agile in our response. Key to this is a strong relationship between police and prosecutors.’
‘Extensive work is already underway to make improvements for victims of these awful crimes who deserve a criminal justice system they can have full confidence in, but we know there is more to do.’
She said the joint plan sets out the approach for the next three years, and that it will be continuously reviewed in light of any new challenges that may emerge.
The three-year action plan has been drawn up in close collaboration between CPS and the NPCC to make sure both police and prosecutors are confident, capable and well trained with the specialist knowledge, skills and insight needed to respond effectively to serious sexual offences.
The actions in the plan fall under the following five themes:
Supporting victims through an improved understanding of the impact of trauma, as well as better communication with victims so they understand the process and what to expect in a way that enables them to give their best evidence.
Casework quality addressing any issues relating to casework quality and progression to ensure the relationship between police and prosecutors is timely, effective and geared towards building the strongest case from the outset.
Right to privacy balancing the needs of an investigation and a fair trial with the right to victim’s and witness’s right to privacy through work on digital capability and disclosure.
Training supporting our people through training, development, structure and supporting their wellbeing to ensure they have the expertise and capacity to deliver justice.
Collaboration working openly, collaboratively and being accountable through stakeholder engagement to ensure that the action plan and its delivery is fit for purpose.
The joint action plan has been formally launched after feedback from stakeholders. Dedicated project groups will take forward work to drive the agreed improvements and, locally, regional action plans will be implemented reflecting these priorities.
This work will then be reviewed by the CPS and police bi-annually to incorporate any new work and further findings from the cross-government review into rape. A public update on progress will be provided to demonstrate transparency in the joint RASSO approach.
DCC Sarah Crew