News report states the Prime Minister will intervene after prosecution rates continue to fall

In response to the front page story in today’s (10 August) Guardian newspaper which states Downing Street is planning to intervene to reverse the record decline in rape prosecutions by imposing targets on police and prosecutors, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “If this is as reported, I think it is an excellent move by the Prime Minister and his team.

“Targets are an imperfect tool but the specific focus on the Crown Prosecution Service is vital.

“CPS leadership put a perverse target on its own staff in 2016-17 of only prosecuting solid certainties in order to increase their conviction rate.

“This has led to appallingly low numbers of prosecutions and convictions ever since; and to the latest shameful CPS statistics released at the end last month.

“The police must now revert to submitting more cases which they consider to meet the evidential test to the CPS; and should be reassured that the previous brake on prosecutions will be removed.

“This move shows the government is not afraid to act where necessary for the good of rape complainants and to restore their confidence in the criminal justice system, and represents a clear-sighted approach by the PM and his team,” she said.