In 2012, one third of rape allegations reported to police in seven London boroughs were not logged as crimes. Data acquired by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that between 34% and 40% of rape reports in these London regions were rejected by the Metropolitan Police Service as “no-crimes” or “crime related incidents” (CRIs), meaning the charges were dropped.
Data also reveals large variations across London in the percentage of rape reports classified in this way, adding to fears that some boroughs may be abusing the use of the classifications. In Barking, just 19% of rape reports were classed as no-crimes or CRIs in 2012, compared with 40% of allegations made in Lambeth, 39% of those made in Bexley and 34% of reports made in Greenwich. The CRI categorization should only be used if police cannot verify at the time of recording that a crime has taken place – for example if a caller reports a rape without identifying the victim. “No-criming” is used where police originally think a crime has occurred but additional evidence later emerges to indicate no criminal offence being committed.
Constable James Patrick told an investigative oversight committee that after analyzing samples of rape CRIs and no-crime reports in 2013, he found most were wrongly classified. Patrick is currently facing disciplinary action over a whistle-blowing book he authored. A retired Metropolitan police officer, who also provided evidence to the committee, said the data was disturbing: “The discrepancies in these figures are worrying especially after earlier scandals involving proven manipulation of sex crime figures. This will only fuel speculation that some police managers are resorting to discredited methods to improve their figures,’ retired officer Chris Hobbs said.
Source: Melanie Newman, “Seven London Boroughs Dismiss a Third of Rape Allegations,” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, December 17, 2013, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/12/17/seven-london-boroughs-dismiss-a-third-of-rape-allegations/.
Student Researcher: Jordyn Paryz (Florida Atlantic University)
Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)