Chart: Typical rape investigation times doubled between 2012 and 2018

The time taken for a typical rape case to be prosecuted in court increased only slightly from 2012 to 2018, but the time taken for police to investigate rapes and the CPS to decide whether to charge a suspect has more than doubled. The government has not published updated data since March 2019.

There are several potential reasons for this increase, which could explain it either individually or in combination:

  • Cuts to police resources may have led to longer investigation times.
  • Cuts to CPS resources may have led to longer delays in making the decision whether or not to charge the suspect.
  • Attempts to increase the proportion of rapes reported to police may mean more rape investigations need extended inquiries.
  • Developments in investigative techniques (e.g. analysis of mobile-phone data) or changes in offence circumstances may mean investigations take longer.

larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Data source: Ministry of Justice, 2019

Matt Ashby
Matt Ashby
Lecturer in Crime Science

I am a lecturer in crime science at the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science at University College London (UCL). I am interested in crime analysis – particularly how crime concentrates in time and space – in crime prevention and in transport crime.

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