The method used by Wiltshire Police to submit data to the Home Office database has contributed to the reported low performance in rape outcomes today, the county’s PCC has said.

Wiltshire Police are currently one of three forces nationwide which report crime outcomes manually. This means the outcome statistics will always lag behind reported crimes, especially with crimes like rape and serious sexual assault - due to the complexity of investigations and time taken.

Actual figures, over the last 12 months, show the proportion of cases which result in rape detections has risen from 3.8% in October 2020 to 4.1% in October 2021.

Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson has asked the Force’s Chief Constable to look at the process and ensure the force continues to work towards automated data submissions so that inconsistencies like this do not happen again.

“Figures like the ones reported are seriously damaging to Wiltshire Police, its credibility and is not a fair reflection of the work that has been ongoing,” he said.

“While Wiltshire’s figure has improved over 12 months – I accept it isn’t good enough - and I will ensure enough resources and capability is available to the Force to continue to improve these outcomes. As far as I am concerned, one crime is too many, one victim is too many.

“Nationally, those same figures aren’t improving and are appallingly low, this paints a rather dim picture. Victims deserve better from police forces and from the wider criminal justice system.

“I am determined this will change. I, alongside my fellow PCCs in Dorset and Hampshire, have commissioned an external, independent, review to drive improvements where they are needed in the criminal justice system, and beyond: looking at better services for victims, better training for professionals and better outcomes for victims too.

“Work to address the public’s concerns around violence against women and girls, alongside rape and serious sexual assault, will be a key feature of my new Police and Crime Plan: providing that joined-up approach, leadership and policing direction for the Force over the next four years.

“Myself and the Chief Constable are determined that we will robustly affect culture change, where necessary, and I plan to work with the Force to track every single rape case reported to them to provide that oversight. Together we will work to make Wiltshire safer and rebuild the public’s trust in policing.”