Commissioner’s response to HMICFRS report: HMICFRS’s Joint Thematic Inspection of the Police and Crown Prosecution Service’s Response to Rape – Phase two: Post charge

I welcome this HMICFRS report. Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls and supporting victims are right at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan. We must do better as a policing service and this report, along with the Phase One report, will help shape what the police and CPS need to deliver in order to properly respond to these crimes.

I have asked for a response from the Chief Constable, including on the recommendations made. His response is as follows:

Surrey Chief Constable Response

I welcome the HMICFRS’s joint thematic inspection of the police and Crown Prosecution Service’s response to rape – Phase two: Post charge.

This is the second and concluding part of the Criminal Justice’s Joint Inspection which examines cases from the point of charge through to their conclusion and includes those which were decided in court. The combined findings of both parts of the report form the most comprehensive and up to date assessment of the criminal justice system’s approach to the investigation and prosecution of rape.

Surrey Police is already working hard with its partners to address the recommendations contained within phase one of the report and I am reassured that within Surrey we have already adopted a number of working practices which seek to achieve these.

We remain committed to delivering the highest level of care to those affected by serious sexual abuse, by investing in specialist investigators and victim support officers, and focusing on the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences, domestic abuse and child abuse. We also seek to place the victim at the heart of our investigation, ensuring that they remain in control and updated throughout.

I recognise that we must maintain the momentum of our improvement strategy to deliver tangible results to those victims of rape and sexual abuse. Working closely with the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, Crown Prosecution Service and victim support services, we will address the concerns outlined within this report and ensure that we continue to deliver the highest standards of investigation and victim care whilst bringing more cases to court and relentlessly pursing those who perpetrate against others.

I have set out clear expectations in my Police and Crime Plan 2021-2025 that Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls is a priority for Surrey Police. I am pleased the Chief Constable is working hard in this area and expect to see the force fully implement and deliver against its ‘Men’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy’, with a focus on perpetrators, an increased understanding of VAWG and improved performance in gender-based crimes, specifically rape and sexual offences. I hope to see this feeding through to more court cases in the coming months. I also welcome the force’s commitment to providing the highest level of care for all those affected by these crimes and know it will work hard to provide more reassurance and build public confidence in the police to investigate. My office commissions specialist services to support adult and child victims of rape and sexual abuse, which work independently and alongside Surrey Police and my team works closely with force colleagues on their plans.

Lisa Townsend
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

April 2022