On those rape conviction statistics

Interesting point being made:

Since 1999 the Home Office has known that its methods for calculating rape convictions are wrong. The real conviction rate is not the publicly broadcast 10 per cent but closer to 50 per cent (it varies slightly from year to year). In a Minority Report (1) which I wrote for a Home Office committee in 2000 but which advisers refused to forward to ministers who were then actively considering new rape legislation, the HO were told that they were confusing ‘attrition’ rates with ‘conviction’ rates.

The attrition rate refers to the number of convictions secured compared with the number of that particular crime reported to the police (it must be noted that a crime that is ‘reported’ does not automatically imply that the crime actually took place). The conviction rate refers to the number of convictions secured against the number of persons brought to trial for that given offence.

Rape is the only crime judged by the attrition rate. All others – murder, assault, robbery, and so on – are assessed by their conviction rates. Why?

8 comments on “On those rape conviction statistics

  1. As it happens I listened to the podcast this morning and you can just about hear the incredulity of the presenters as they discussed this story.

    Also, fair play to the beeb for investigating reporting it.

  2. I find it remarkable that only 1-in-7 of reported ‘attempted murder’ results in a conviction.

    The implications of this are quite widespread of course. It opens the possibility that Police crime statistics overstate crime, which is the opposite of what we thought (the BCS usually shows a higher rate).

  3. Matthew – “The implications of this are quite widespread of course. It opens the possibility that Police crime statistics overstate crime, which is the opposite of what we thought (the BCS usually shows a higher rate).”

    Or that Government monopolies are inherently inefficient and incompetent.

  4. I find it remarkable that only 1-in-7 of reported ‘attempted murder’ results in a conviction.

    That’ll be because it results in a conviction for GBH instead. “Attempted murder” charges aren’t pursued that often, because you risk getting the assailant off by failing to prove intent to kill (whereas GBH With Intent also carries a maximum life sentence, and you only need to prove intent to cause serious harm).

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