CPS: Dodgy Numbers

The Crown Prosecution Service is guilty of fiddling the crime figures, so it appears to have a higher conviction rate for rape. Following an investigation by this show, the UK statistics watchdog criticises the CPS’s use of dodgy numbers that could mislead the public.


“We will be honest and open…”

Except when we fiddle the crime figures.
The Crown Prosecution Service – found guilty by a government watchdog.
Censured for inflating the number of rape convictions.

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. The country’s lead prosecuting agency has been caught red-handed attempting to commit a fraud on the British public.

The Crown Prosecution Service published fake numbers, this month, trying to inflate its success rate for convicting men accused of rape.

“Hello, I’m Alison Saunders. I’m the Director of Public Prosecutions, heading the Crown Prosecution Service.”

Alison Saunders went on the media to boast about how more and more rapists are being found guilty.

The problem is her figures are a calculated deception. Not an exaggeration or an alternative interpretation. In plain language, a lie.

Let me explain…

This month, the CPS published its ‘Violence Against Women and Girls Report for 2016-17’.

Here’s a graph from that report, asserting the highest ever number of rape convictions – 2,991.

This, it claimed, represented a “conviction rate… of 57.6%.”

This is important because the general conviction rate for all crimes is 85%; and rape conviction rates are historically low.

But here’s the problem. Every quarter, the Ministry of Justice publishes a line by line breakdown of all cases going through the courts. It’s a massive spreadsheet with 25,000 rows and 100 columns of data.

So, not many people check the numbers, but I did. It shows…

– 3,716 rapes proceeded against in 2016.
– which resulted in 1,352 convictions.
– This is a conviction rate of 36%.

So, why is there a big difference between these figures and those from the CPS? The answer is buried away in the small print, in the definition of a ‘rape conviction’ used by the CPS.

“CPS data on successful rape prosecutions includes not only cases resulting in a conviction for rape, but also cases initially flagged as rape where a conviction was obtained for an alternative or lesser offence.”

In other words, if somebody is initially arrested or charged with rape, but subsequently convicted of, say, common assault, that could be included as a successful ‘rape conviction’ in the CPS figures.

Clearly that is not a rape conviction by any standard use of the English language. It is a lie, concocted so the CPS can claim a 57% conviction rate, when the true figure is 36%.

I discovered this deception and reported it to the independent watchdog on government statistics.

“Official statistics serve the public good in so many ways.”

The UK Statistics Authority investigated and concluded the CPS had published misleading data.

Alison Saunders has form. It previously wrote to her in 2015 about the same annual report… that time for dodgy data on domestic violence.

Ms Saunders: we need to have confidence in the criminal justice system and you undermine that when you employ fraudulent accounting to deliberately con the public.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

Published by videobite2021

Journalist, broadcaster, media executive, academic, author.