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More sexual offences investigators taken on in Suffolk

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Extra investigators are being appointed in Suffolk in a bid to halt poor rates for solving serious sexual offences.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore announced the fresh investigators last week, following figures which revealed just one in 18 serious sexual offences were solved.

“We have made a lot of progress but the figures speak for themselves,” Mr Passmore told Friday’s police and crime panel.

“We know 38 per cent of victims who report crimes do not want to take the case further – that is a shocking statistic but I do not think that is just for police.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore

“We have got to think what have we got to do to better support victims?

“The constabulary have put in extra staff, extra investigators are being appointed, and I think this will all help to move in the right way.”

Funding proposals which will take effect from April included provision of 24 police staff investigators to assist detectives leading serious offences, many of whom will be working on serious sexual offences reported to officers.

Data for 2018 published for this month’s accountability and performance panel – a group tasked with holding the police force to account – showed the county had the highest number of rapes per 1,000 people, compared to similar forces.

In 2018, the number of serious sexual offences reported had increased by 26.7 per cent on the three year average, while just 5.7 per cent were solved.

Mr Passmore said: “One of the reasons we have done it [put in more investigators] is because we know that we have got to improve performance of that.

“We are trying to make sure more cases are going to the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] than before.

“We need to understand what else we can do and if it’s capacity with CPS we need to make representations [to central government].”

Among some of the common barriers to more cases going forward are victims not willing to pursue prosecution, questions over where sentences are stringent enough, and the ability to gather evidence for crimes which may have happened a long time prior.

Mr Passmore added that his office continued to fund grants for support services such as Suffolk Rape Crisis, Fresh Start-New Beginnings and Survivors In Transition.